July 19, 2010

Decline in Illegal Logging Observered in New Chatham House Report

Filed under: biodiversity, Environmental Crime — Tags: — inece @ 2:59 pm

The most thorough assessment to date of the global fight against illegal logging finds that a decade of international effort to tackle the problem is having a dramatic and beneficial effect both on forest dependent communities and on the global climate.

According to the report, Illegal Logging and Related Trade: Indicators of the Global Response, total global production of illegal timber has fallen by 22 per cent since 2002.

From Chatham House’s Press Release:

The report states that illegal logging has dropped by 50 per cent in Cameroon, by between 50 and 75 per cent in the Brazilian Amazon, and by 75 per cent in Indonesia in the last decade. This reduction, documented in three of the five tropical timber producers studied, has prevented the degradation of up to 17 million hectares of forest, an area larger than England and Wales combined.

By preventing forest degradation, which is often the first step towards forest destruction, efforts to tackle illegal logging in these three countries may over time help prevent – at relatively low cost – the release of up to 14.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of half the carbon dioxide released by human actions worldwide each year. Conversely, if the timber were harvested under government auspices an estimated $6.5 billion dollars could be raised in these countries alone, more than twice that which the world spends each year in overseas aid for primary school education.

Some news articles urge caution when evaluating the report’s findings. The New Scientist’s Timber piracy down – but we’re not out of the woods article suggests that some of the decrease in illegal logging may be due to the fact that timber removal practices are simply being legalized, as opposed to stopped altogether.

At the same time, a New York Times article Ranchers and Drug Barons Threaten Rain Forest reveals that “[g]reat sweeps of Guatemalan rain forest, once the cradle of one of the world’s great civilizations, are being razed to clear land for cattle-ranching drug barons.”


1 Comment »

  1. Great post! If you would like to learn more & share thoughts on illegal logging, and what our organization is doing to stop it, please follow our blog at http://eiaenvironment.wordpress.com.

    Comment by eiaenvironment — July 28, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

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