Illegal loggers make a fortune
American forestry companies attempt to fight back
May 5, 2005
A new report published by Seneca Creek Associates and Wood Resources Institute, says that illegal logging hurts legitimate timber operators by driving down market prices for wood and tarnishing the industry’s reputation through shady dealings with corrupt regimes. While maximizing their harvest without regard for regulations or the long-term impact of their activities, these illicit operators reduce their costs through the use of well-placed bribes to avoid taxes and royalties.
The paper, “Illegal Logging and Global Wood Markets: The Competitive Impacts on the U.S. Wood Products Industry,” is sponsored by the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) and looks at “illegal logging in Brazil, Central and West Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Russia and at suspicious forest product imports into China, Europe, and Japan” according The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). CIFOR is an international research and global knowledge institution committed to conserving forests and improving the livelihoods of people in the tropics.
In their summary of the paper, CIFOR notes the authors’ conclusions:
- Each year $23 billion dollars of forest products are produced globally from illegally harvested timber. About $5 billion of that is traded internationally.
- Timber of suspicious origin is involved in between 5% and 10% of the logs, lumber, and panels traded globally (measured in terms of value).
- Almost one quarter of hardwood lumber and 30% of hardwood plywood traded globally is of suspicious origin.
- If all exports associated with illegally harvested logs were phased out by 2007, international roundwood, lumber, and wood panel prices would rise by 19%, 7%, and 16%, respectively, and companies operating legally would earn much more money.
- Without illegal logging, the United States would have exported $4.6 billion more roundwood, sawnwood, and wood panels between 2002 and 2012.
Illegally-harvested timber cuts into the profits of American forestry companies. The aim of the “Illegal Logging and Global Wood Markets” paper is to encourage governments to enforce local laws and slow the illegal trade in timber.
You can learn more about the paper and see CIFOR’s summary of the paper at http://www.cifor.cgiar.org/docs/_ref/aboutcifor/index.htm
This report used information from The Center for International Forestry Research‘s web site and press release.