A wood buyer from Washington State and his lumber mill, J&L Tonewoods, were indicted last week on charges of purchasing illegally harvested big leaf maples from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in violation of the Lacey Act. The act bans illegal wildlife trafficking, and the seven counts of the indictment are the first alleging violations within the United States.
Sete anos atrás, a Polícia Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo iniciou um plano para combater o comércio ilegal de madeira por meio de melhorias na fiscalização. Em 2011, durante uma de suas mais ambiciosas operações de fiscalização, agentes da Polícia Ambiental inspecionaram quase 350 caminhões e mais de 60 serrarias em apenas dois dias. Descobrindo diversas infrações, os agentes emitiram 50 autuações e aplicaram um total de R$2,2 milhões (US$ 1,4 milhões) em multas.
Thanks to an innovative program, Brazil’s São Paulo State Environmental Police inspected nearly 350 trucks and more than 60 lumberyards in just two days, issuing 50 violation notices and $1.4 million in fines.
Leaders at this week's UN Climate Summit unveiled “The New York Declaration” on forests, which many hope will inject life into efforts to reverse forest loss.
While the Declaration is not an “official” UN agreement—and has been carefully worded to avoid the appearance of commitments being binding—it is a positive development. If governments and business take it seriously going forward—and civil society watchdogs hound them sufficiently to do so—it would yield significant impacts.
Illegal logging drives deforestation in many countries, robbing national governments and local communities of valuable income and contributing to global biodiversity loss and climate change. Apart from its environmental and economic damage, illegal logging can fuel corruption, and is sometimes linked to organized crime and violent social conflict.
A new guide, Sourcing Legally Produced Wood: A Guide for Business, provides four actions companies can take to source legal wood. The guide aims to help companies avoid illicit logging in their supply chains—both for the good of the world’s forests and their own bottom lines.
Brazil is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. What is less known is that the country is the fourth largest industrial roundwood (timber left as logs, not sawn into planks) and wood pulp producer and ninth largest paper producer in the world. Brazil’s forest sector contributed 5 percent to the national gross domestic product in 2012. Brazil’s forests are not only home to communities and a haven for biodiversity, they are also part of the country’s economic backbone.
Brazil’s government has made impressive progress towards balancing forest protection and production. In 2012, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon dropped to its lowest rate in more than two decades. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research has pioneered the use of satellite data to prevent illegal logging. And the forest sector uses the Forest Source Document system (Documento de Origem Florestal, DOF), a sophisticated electronic system to track the wood flow throughout the supply chain.
Despite these positive steps, illegal logging and associated trade in the Amazon continues. Beyond the negative social and environmental impacts, illegal logging poses a serious problem for businesses producing legal wood products. With a price difference of up to 40 percent, legal wood simply cannot compete with cheaper illegal wood.
To reduce illegal logging and support the legal actors in the forest sector, Brazil must strengthen its forest control systems and policies.