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This publication updates the 2014 version of Sourcing Legally Produced Wood, which provided information on illegal logging and associated trade, public and private procurement policies, export country logging and log export bans, and introductory guidance to the wood products legality legislation in the United States, the EU, and Australia.

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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.

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Reducing illegal logging by supporting the supply and procurement of legal and sustainable forest products

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The global market for wood and other forest products is changing quickly. The industry has long struggled to address the problem of illegal logging, which damages diverse and valuable forests and creates economic losses of up to $10 billion a year. In some wood-producing countries, illegal logging accounts for 50-90 percent of total production.

But recent developments indicate that we may be turning a corner: Illegal logging rates worldwide have declined by about 20 percent since 2008.

This was the topic on everyone’s minds at the recent Forest Legality Alliance meeting in Washington, D.C. This meeting brought together nearly 100 members and experts representing a wide array of companies, trade associations, NGOs, and governments involved in the harvest, manufacturing, and trade of legally produced forest products.

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Burma holds more than half of mainland Southeast Asia's closed forest, and is often called "the last frontier of biodiversity in Asia." Having lost virtually all of their original forest cover, Burma's neighbors -- China, India, and Thailand -- rely increasingly on Burma as a source of timber.

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Recommends policies to promote renewed forest stewardship and sound environmental management neglected during the Mobutu dictatorship and civil war. Argues that proper husbanding of the country's forest resources can act as a stimulant to economic growth.

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Guyana's abundant forest resources, encompassing 85 percent of its land area at the heart of the Guiana Shield, represent the largest remaining intact tropical forest frontier in the world.

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Tropical forests are vanishing at alarming rates throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and their many contributions to huan welfare are being undermined. Despite increased efforts to stem deforestation, recent findings indicate that the problem is getting worse.

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Under current national income accounting practices, assets such as buildings and equipment are valued as productive assets and depreciated over time; natural resource assets are not. This asymmetry is the way national assets are treated sends misleading signals to policymakers.

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