Position Paper, Illegal Logging and Related Trade
The global trade in roundwood, paper, furniture, and other products originating from illegally extracted timber is a multi-million dollar industry. Illegal logging and related trade occurs when timber is harvested, transported, processed, bought or sold in violation of national or sub-national laws.
Although generally portrayed as a problem in tropical forests, illegality also occurs in developed countries and economies in transition. Illegal logging takes place in many countries on a small scale and may have limited impact on the environment or society in general. However, in a significant number of countries, illegal logging is a major problem that poses a serious threat to forests, communities, and wildlife.
Illegal logging has a particularly devastating effect on biodiversity because the perpetrators often deliberately target remaining high-conservation-value forests, including protected areas, which contain the highly valuable hardwood species that have been overexploited elsewhere.
Illegal logging also affects human communities through loss of natural forest resources and sometimes through intimidation and violence. The hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenues lost around the world as a result of illegal logging and related trade also has a wider social impact.