Responsible forest management provides renewable raw material for a wide range of products, supports livelihoods for millions of people, and preserves biodiversity and climate benefits. However, in many regions, illegal logging is having devastating impacts on forests, including biodiversity loss, and increased prevalence of fire. Illegal logging often removes precious hardwoods from forest areas, reducing the value of forests to continued sustainable management, and lowering the barriers to deforestation or conversion to agriculture. It also deprives countries of public revenue and can lead to social conflict and human rights violations. Illegal logging and trade make up a significant portion of global trade; UNEP and INTERPOL in 2016 estimated that forestry crimes (including both corporate crimes and illegal logging) is valued at between 51 – 152 billion USD.
The Forest Legality Initiative (FLI) is designed to achieve better forest management, governance and conservation by supporting efforts to combat illegal logging in the field, reducing international demand for illegally-harvested forest products, and increasing the capacity of supply chains to deliver legal wood and paper. Activities include building awareness of policy developments among forest product supply chains; working with the private sector to support policies excluding illegal timber from those supply chains; supporting the development of innovative technologies to detect and prevent illegal logging, identify the origin and species of wood, track timber through supply chains, and manage data in user-friendly platforms; and building capacity of civil society organizations to monitor the legality of the extraction and trade in forest products.
Visit the Forest Legality Initiative website for more information and to access its resources. This includes the following tools:
The Risk Tool, a resource designed to present key information about the sourcing of forest products presented by country or by species.
Sustainable Procurement Guide, which provides a general overview of the key issues related to sustainable procurement of wood and paper-based products, and links to sources of help.
The Logging and Export Ban Table, which provides an overview of producer country legislation limiting harvesting and exporting of logs and minimally processed timber.