Illegal Logging Essay


Illegal logging is one of the many causes of deforestation and is one of the universe ‘s most urgent environmental jobs ( Chatham House, 2009 ; EIA, 2008 ). It is fuelled well by a big and indiscriminate international market demand for inexpensive lumber and lumber merchandises ( EIA, 2008 ). While poorness, economic prostration, provincial liberty and many other factors besides contribute to this signifier of rain forest devastation, corruptness is at the nucleus of the job ( Plate 1 ) ( EIA & A ; Telapak, 2005 ). Previously, for the most portion, within the international community there has been ambivalence sing illegal logging and trade and devastation of tropical rain forests ( Cock, 2008 ). This improper pattern has merely come to the attending of the planetary community in the past few decennaries ( Cock, 2008 ; EIA, 2008 ). Attempts to battle illegal logging and trade have started to go a policy precedence across the Earth and international enterprises have been established ( EIA, 2008 ; Glastra, 1999 ).


This paper will see the international response to illegal logging and trade and whether that response has been successful. The treatment will get down by specifying illegal logging and other related footings. The analysis will so concentrate on a brief overview of the happening of this illicit pattern and the environmental, societal and economic issues associated. The following portion of the essay will discourse what the international response to illegal logging and trade is and its effectivity utilizing some cardinal illustrations. Finally, restrictions on informations and recommendations for future actions will be discussed and the chief statements of this history summarised.


Illegal logging is the pattern in which lumbermans, Millers, and transporters go against national Torahs to reap, factory, and transport lumber and wood merchandises illicitly, or through corrupt patterns ( Rhodes, Allen & A ; Callahan, 2006 ). The illegal trade of lumber can affect exporting or importing: tree species prohibited under national or international jurisprudence ; timber or lumber merchandises in misdemeanor of national prohibitions ; the unauthorised motion of lumber across boundary lines and the motion of illicitly logged lumber from forest to market ( Callister, 1999 ).

International enterprises are a response to the turning concern of non-governmental bureaus, the populace, the scientific community and authoritiess about of import issues and can include the formation or change to organisations, official forums, action programs and conventions ( Glastra, 1999 ). An international administration efforts to regulate the planetary political economic system in relation to some cardinal issue and imposes order through force per unit areas and restraints ( Emadi-Coffin, 2002 ). An international convention is a lawfully binding understanding to any state that marks it, in which the execution of national policy or statute law is required to accomplish the aims of the convention ( Glastra, 1999 ).

Overview of Illegal Logging and Trade

Illegal logging involves the remotion of big and valuable trees from primary woods, which, creates secondary woods, can do woods more susceptible to fires, and facilitates the development of the woods for other utilizations ( Dauvergne, 2001 ). Factors which aid illegal logging and trade can include: undue political influence, hapless authorities policies, and hapless enforcement systems ( Glastra, 1999 ). The causes of illegal logging can embrace: misguided community positions that illegal logging is non a felon or harmful activity, over-complex regulative authorities models, deficiency of authorities willingness or capacity to implement the jurisprudence, and corruptness ( Table 1 ) ( Tacconi, 2007 ). Illegal logging is driven mostly by the net income it generates ( Tacconi, 2007 ).


Illegal logging occurs across the Earth and is estimated to impact about 70 states ( Tacconi, 2007 ). It has contributed to an addition in the rate of deforestation worldwide, peculiarly in the Earth ‘s most dumbly forested countries, such as Asia, South America, and Central and West Africa ( Rhodes, Allen & A ; Callahan, 2006 ). Illegal lumber is besides exported from Laos, the Philippines, India, and Thailand ( Glastra, 1999 ). Table 2, below, shows estimations of illegal logging and trade in assorted states.

Impacts and Issues

Illegal logging and trade can ensue in a scope of negative ecological, economic and societal impacts ( Callister, 1999 ). Environmental costs may consist of accelerated dirt eroding, and illegal logging in protected countries ( Callister, 1999 ). The pattern besides drives planetary wood debasement, deforestation and the loss of biodiversity ( Dauvergne, 2001 ; EIA, 2008 ). Social issues that are caused by this illegal activity can include: land usage struggles, restricted entree to nutrient and on local usage of lumber and big scale occupation losingss ( Callister, 1999 ). Additionally, it is a menace to authoritiess ‘ regulative mechanisms, undermines statute law, and can take to a clime of anarchy and corruptness ( Glastra, 1999 ). It can besides supply the fiscal resources to back up knave governments, aid finance civil wars and undermine democratic reforms ( Rhodes, Allen & A ; Callahan, 2006 ). Associated economic impacts can include huge economic loss for the manufacturer state, decrease of resource capacity and marginalization other stakeholders ( Glastra, 1999 ). Illegal logging and trade can besides deject the market value of lumber, and disfavor those companies and states that engage in legal logging and trade ( Rhodes, Allen & A ; Callahan, 2006 ).

The International Response

In the 1970 ‘s and 1980 ‘s, legion international enterprises and administrations were proposed which funded undertakings aimed at advancing reforms to forest administration in response to turning public consciousness of logging and deforestation ( Cock, 2008 ). During the late 1980 ‘s and 1990 ‘s the international docket was focused on issues such as preservation and re-afforestation ( Cock, 2008 ). More late, nevertheless, following the international community ‘s battle to decelerate forest loss, the focal point has shifted to market-based instruments, environmental protection, public policy, pricing to reflect the scarceness of timber resources, publicity of efficient usage and international monitoring systems ( Cock, 2008 ; EIA, 2008 ; Geist & A ; Lambin, 2002 ). Climate alteration and the concerns about increased C in the ambiance have besides led to greater concern, as woods sequester 45 % of tellurian C ( EIA, 2008 ). Western consumer societies create a market for the trade of illicitly logged lumber, which in bend causes farther debasement ( Geist & A ; Lambin, 2002 ). Table 3 reveals estimations of the illegal proportion of wood merchandises imported by many states, even in those states who have adopted statute law or formal understandings to except illegal stuff. There are a broad assortment of international enterprises that target illegal logging and which will be discussed below.

International Law

Presently, there is no one international instrument designed to stamp down the trade of illegal lumber ( Schloenhardt, 2008 ). For the most portion, current instruments under international jurisprudence are understandings that are designed to protect the environment and promote sustainable usage of resources ( Schloenhardt, 2008 ). At present, there is an absence of legal liability for private concerns that cause environmental harm, no offense of illegal logging in international jurisprudence, and the trafficking and sale of illicitly obtained lumber is non criminalised in any pact ( Glastra, 1999 ; Schloenhardt, 2008 ). There is a demand to beef up statute law that protects woods and increase punishments for misdemeanors ( Glastra, 1999 ). Many international pacts and administrations have developed models that partly modulate, control and bound to some extent, the international trade of timber ( Schloenhardt, 2008 ).

International Enterprises

In relation to illegal logging and trade, there are legion international understandings, pacts, administrations and conventions that exist under international jurisprudence. They can be concerned with: the preservation and protection of single species, the saving of specific countries or home grounds, protection of biodiversity, and may concentrate on sustainable development ( Schloenhardt, 2008 ). Glastra ( 1999 ) offered the sentiment that by and large, international conventions appear to move as an alibi. Cock ( 2008 ) claims that the applications of policy, reforms or other international enterprises have had small consequence in decelerating forest loss. The undermentioned illustrations demonstrate the general deficiency of effectivity of many international response mechanisms.

The Convention on Biological Diversity was established in 1992, with 168 signers ( Fisher, 2003 ). Signers are required to restrict activities that threaten extinction of species or debasement of ecosystems, such as woods, within their district, and are expected to rehabilitate and reconstruct damaged ecosystems every bit good as create and enforce Torahs and ordinances ( Glastra, 1999 ). Schloenhardt ( 2008 ) remarks that the convention has been criticised for being mostly ambitious, accomplishing small practical results, that it does non efficaciously lend to stamp downing the illicit lumber trade. Glastra ( 1999 ) notes that the convention fails to cover with some elements that are specific for woods, and as such, extra protocols should be added.

Small advancement has besides been made to implement national policy and statute law for this convention and this hapless execution every bit good as missing enforcement demands to be addressed ( Glastra, 1999 ). Conversely, Sayer and Maginnis ( 2005 ) argue that the convention has contributed to the development of current schemes for sustainable forest direction and that it has promoted two cardinal rules, that forest direction must be a affair of social pick and that it must be developed every bit far as possible to local stakeholders. Overall, this response mechanism appears to hold negligible effectivity.

The Forestry Law Enforcement and Governance ( FLEG ) conference was held in Bali in 2001, and focused peculiarly on how to battle illegal logging ( Tacconi, 2007 ). The reacting EU FLEG and Trade action program is said to be a positive measure frontward ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ). However, the advancement is slow, there is still no lumber on the market that is EU FLEGT approved, and some states pursing EU FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements ( VAP ) are doing negligible advancement ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ).

The effectivity of many of these understandings is questionable, such as in Indonesia, since there has been inconsiderable subsequent execution or followup and they do non include sufficient countenances for states non taking portion or non doing equal advancement ( Chatham House, 2009 ; House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ). These voluntary understandings do non turn to trade through 3rd party states, do non cover all timber bring forthing states ; and may legalize destructive practises and will non be sufficient entirely to cut down illegal logging significantly at a planetary degree. ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ) Cameroon, nevertheless, has demonstrated a political committedness to tacking illegal logging and trade through negociating a FLEGT VPA with the EU and respondents to a Chatham House study were positive sing the degree of international co-operation shown by the authorities with more than half holding that the degree of Cameroon ‘s international cooperation was good ( Chatham House, 2009 ). The FLEGT VAP programme seems to be holding some consequence in selected states.

The International Tropical Timber Organisation ( ITTO ) and Agreement ( ITTA ) were introduced in the late 1980 ‘s ( Cock, 2008 ). The ITTA was originally designed as a trade good understanding with an environmental clause that allowed it to turn to the issue of sustainable logging ( Cock, 2008 ). Its ability to turn to illegal logging has been restricted by a deficiency of authorization and resources ( Cock, 2008 ).

Additionally, the ITTO ‘s budget has by and large been little and based on voluntary parts with dissensions often happening between its temperate and tropical members ( Cock, 2008 ). Glastra ( 1999 ) states that the ITTO debilitates its mark to guarantee that all internationally traded tropical lumber originates from woods that are sustainably managed by non back uping or accepting import prohibitions on illicitly exported or sourced lumber. Some non-governmental administrations consider association with the ITTO pointless as it has neither successfully reformed the lumber trade, nor established any mechanism to carry through reform ( Glastra, 1999 ). Schloenhardt ( 2008 ) points out that a figure of paperss, such as guidelines sing sustainable forest direction, have been produced but the administration has failed to make anything considerable in relation to illegal timber trade.

Forest enfranchisement and the publicity of sustainable logging have been suggested as options to conventions and administrations ( Cock, 2008 ). However, while the thought is good in theory, it is non as effectual in the existent universe as it does non present on the land ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ). Documents of enfranchisement can be forged and corruptness in some states can let enfranchisement to be given when the lumber has non come from legal or sustainable logging patterns ( EIA, 2008 ). In 2008 in the UK, the EIA conducted an experiment in which 16 random retail merchants selling merbau ( a lumber which is associated with a high grade of illegality ) were called and research workers who posed as clients found that none could supply any grounds that their lumber was legal ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ).

However, these strategies do increase consciousness of and bring forth an involvement in the issue of illegal logging, foregrounding to companies that they need to take action on illegal lumber ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ). Schloenhardt ( 2008 ) states that enfranchisement would help in placing legal merchandises and that electronic enfranchisement systems would ease this enfranchisement efficaciously. This response may be effectual if there were extremely developed supervising systems in topographic point.

Strengths, Restrictions and Recommendations

Strengths and Restrictions

There are some restrictions with the current information sing the extent and happening of illegal logging and trade. Data provided by many manufacturer states may be misdirecting as it is capable to corruptness, deficiency of resources, weak designation of illegal merchandises, trouble with supervising distant countries and a deficiency of transparence ( Schloenhardt, 2008 ). Besides, much of the information available is in the signifier of estimations, as the bulk of research is limited to analyzing the procedure of the licit lumber trade, legislative model and environmental issues ( Schloenhardt, 2008 ).

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee ( 2009 ) supports this claim, take a firm standing that dependable statistics on illegal activities, such as illegal logging and trade are hard to garner and quantify. The available information on illegal logging is largely limited to beginnings of non-governmental and some intergovernmental administrations, and non from academic research ( Schloenhardt, 2008 ). Discrepancies with the informations were besides found between beginnings and there are issues with the definitions of illegal lumber changing between states ( Schloenhardt, 2008 ). Another restriction is sing international jurisprudence as conventions and understandings are normally based on good religion, with enforcement in the signifier of force per unit area from the international community, calling and dishonoring and on rare occasions, economic countenances ( Fisher, 2003 ).

Present international responses to illegal logging and trade have had some success in a few states, such as in Madagascar and Cameroon ( Chatham House, 2009 ). The force per unit area exerted by the international community and the turning consciousness that is promoted by international actions can, as in the instance of Madagascar, persuade authoritiess in bring forthing and devouring states to follow good policy and statute law ( Butler, 2010 ). Some advancement has been made with manufacturer states, with major consumer states of lumber and lumber merchandises neglecting to shut their markets to illicit wood ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ).


There are a figure of recommendations available sing the decrease of illegal logging and trade. Further research is required into the trade and trade waies of illegal logging ( Schloenhardt, 2008 ). However as Geist & A ; Lambdin ( 2002 ) have shown, illegal logging on its ain is non every bit important a cause of deforestation, compared to agricultural enlargement or technological factors. It may be more appropriate to turn to important forest loss issues and aim the implicit in and proximate causes of deforestation, instead than signalling out illegal logging. Alternatively, alternatively of seeking to control the trade of illegal lumber, it may be more prudent to straight turn to the causes of illegal logging, which will in bend cut down the trade of illicit lumber.

The EIA ( 2008 ) states that to successfully battle this illegal pattern, there must be in-country forest administration and international trade policies that are consistent with the end of cut downing drivers of deforestation. Other options may include payment inducements to honor re-afforestation, afforestation and avoided deforestation ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ). Additionally, uncluttering external debt of states that are major manufacturers of illegal lumber may supply a tract to extinguish grants and subsidies related to timber and timber merchandises ( McCarthy, 2002 ). Another solution may be to do it an expressed offense to import, sell or possess illegal wood.

International understandings should hold their positions raised to protect them from being weakened by planetary trade understandings, the environment should be given precedency over free trade and an international system should be implemented that can curtail, control and do multinational and private operators lawfully accountable for their illegal operations ( Glastra, 1999 ). Importing states should be encouraged to implement steps and processing states, such as China and Malaysia, need to set up understandings and enter into lawfully adhering mechanisms ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ).

Not all major consumer states have understandings in topographic point. The US implemented an amendment to the Lacey Act merely late in 2008 which prohibits the import of illegal lumber and allows for prosecution of misdemeanors either through civil, condemnable or forfeiture commissariats ( Chatham House, 2009 ). While the UK and Australian authoritiess have been proactive in back uping steps against illegal logging and trade, there has been no touchable advancement in execution of any steps ( House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, 2009 ). Glastra ( 1999 ) concludes that every bit long as there is illegal logging, sustainable forestry direction can non happen and that the involuntariness of some authoritiess to turn to cardinal implicit in causes, will forestall schemes to battle illegal logging and trade from being effectual.


Illegal logging and trade occurs across the Earth and has legion economic, environmental and societal impacts. International response to this illicit pattern has occurred merely late, from the 1970 ‘s onward. Presently, this response is non sufficient plenty to properly reference, prevent and suppress illegal logging and trade. Some steps are holding positive impacts in selective states, nevertheless on the larger graduated table, more demands to be done. Further research and alternate actions are required to accomplish important decreases in illegal logging and trade. There is n’t and ne’er will be a ‘quick hole ‘ to illegal logging and trade. Successful solutions will doubtless be complex, and will necessitate to aim multiple degrees of issues and have long term application.