December 6, 2010

New EU Rules on Sale of Illegal Timber Enter into Force

Filed under: biodiversity, Europe, Forests — Tags: — inece @ 9:00 pm

A European Union press release announces that new EU rules on illegal timber have entered into force.

New rules to prevent illegal timber being sold on the European market have come into force across the EU. The legislation will strengthen efforts to halt illegal logging which causes serious environmental damage and biodiversity loss and undermines the efforts of those trying to manage forests responsibly. The Regulation, which was first proposed by the Commission in 2008, was adopted by the EU last month and will apply in all Member States from March 2013.

The new Regulation will ban the sale on the EU market of illegal timber or of products derived from illegally harvested timber.

operators selling timber and timber products for the first time on the EU market -whether they come from the EU or are imported – will need to know where their timber is from. They will have to take steps to make sure that it has been harvested according to the relevant laws of the country of harvest. Traders along the supply chain within the EU will need to keep records of who their timber or timber product was bought from and to whom it was sold.

Member States will be responsible for applying sanctions to operators who break the rules. Legality is defined by reference to the legislation of the country where the timber was harvested. Timber products from countries that have entered into Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU will be considered to be in compliance with the Regulation. The Regulation will apply to a wide range of timber and timber products, including solid timber products, plywood and board products, furniture, pulp and paper.


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.”

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