Australian Institute of Criminology

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The illegal trade in timber and timber products in the Asia-Pacific region

Research and public policy series no. 89

ISBN 978 1 921185 76 2 ISSN 1326-6004
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, January 2008

Abstract

The illegal trade in timber and timber products leads to economic losses in many countries as well as environmental degradation. International policy exists to curtail some of the trade, but there are still clandestine operations by large organisations and criminal networks. This report examines the scale of the illegal timber trade in the Asia-Pacific region, encompassing the processes and current trends in logging, sourcing, trafficking, manufacturing, importing and consumption of illegal timber and timber products. Assessments of countries' timber resources, extent of illegal logging, policies and legislation, and enforcement initiatives show the efficacy of local, regional, national and international legislative frameworks and actions to suppress illegal trade. The report highlights the need for cooperative policies and regulations between countries to resolve sovereignty issues, share information and develop standards. Issues addressing monitoring the transit of timber and timber products would identify weaknesses in governance, laws, policies and enforcement. Potential research that identifies the causes of the trade, economic dimensions and legal frameworks combined with government intelligence would inform policymaking.