Illegal logging is an immense, multi-billion dollar industry threatening forests worldwide. Some research even suggests that illegal activities make up more than 10 percent of the global timber trade, representing more than $150 billion per year.
© Greenpeace / Sandy Scheltema
Illegal logging is a major driver of deforestation around the world. Estimates indicate that at least half of all logging activities in vulnerable regions like the Amazon, Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and Russia are illegal.
What Qualifies as Illegal Logging?
Illegal logging includes:
- Using corrupt means to gain access to forests
- Cutting down trees without permission or in protected areas
- Cutting down protected tree species
- Extracting more timber than legally permitted
- Fraudulent customs declarations when crossing international borders
- Evading taxes and other charges on timber
While the environmental impacts of illegal logging are clear and well known, the social consequences are just as devastating. As an illicit and unregulated industry, child and forced labor, violation of indigenous land rights, and hazardous working conditions all go hand in hand with illegal logging across the world.