Tackling illegal logging and the related trade: what progress and where next?

Efforts to address illegal logging and reduce the trade in illegal timber have borne fruit and prompted some positive reforms in producer countries. However, changes in the sector mean overall trade has not fallen in the last decade. China is now the world’s largest importer and consumer of wood-based products, as well as a key processing hub, accounting for half of all trade in illegal wood-based products. India, South Korea, and Vietnam are also growing markets. The rise in demand from developing countries has diluted the influence of more progressive countries, such as the EU and US. Additionally, more forest is being cleared for agriculture and other land uses. As much as half of all tropical timber traded internationally now comes from forest conversion, of which nearly two-thirds is thought to be illegal. Finally, logging by small-scale producers has soared in many countries. Such activity is often illegal and remains beyond the scope of many policy and regulatory efforts.