Illegal Logging

Illegal logging is an immense, multi-billion dollar industry threatening forests worldwide.

Illegal logging is the catalyst to deforestation around the globe, threatening some of the world’s most important forests in terms of conservation value. Predatory logging brings roads deeper into the forest, which in turn fuels more logging, impacts Indigenous Peoples and traditional local communities, as well as harming wildlife. Illegal logging is a global-multi-country issue Greenpeace offices around the world have worked to investigate, document, and stop.

Forests Logging (Papua New Guinea : 2003)

Landowner Sakas Aonomo on a stockpile of logs at Log Camp 56, Wawai Guavi Block 3, Middle Fly in Papua New Guinea. His family opposes the logging companies and faces an uncertain future as logging threatens to destroy their land.

© Greenpeace / Sandy Scheltema

Greenpeace’s forests campaign has been investigating the trade of illegally logged wood products in critical, high forest-covered regions that include Indonesia, Brazil, and Congo Basin. Since the launch of Greenpeace’s forests campaign, Greenpeace has conducted field investigations in the Amazon and the Congo Basin to expose illegalities endemic in the trade of the high-end wood species such as Ipe, Big-Leaf Mahogany, Ramin, and Afromorsia.

Individuals around the world have a role to play in combating illegal logging. It is key to strengthen and enforce laws that prohibit the trade of illegally logged wood products and demand that retailers ensure all wood products are of legal origin. Furthermore, many large-scale construction projects utilize Ipe and other tropical hardwoods from high-risk regions to build piers, boardwalks, and siding. Individuals can demand that their local governments only fund or permit projects that use timber that is legally and responsibly produced.

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.

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