Illegal Logging Essay Sample

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Illegal logging has risen to prominence in international forestry dialogues over the last five years and there is a growing international willingness to combat the problem. There is widespread recognition of its linkages to ineffective governance, social conflict and violence. Illegal logging practices and trade cost the producers of legitimately sourced wood products billions of dollars in lost revenue. Considerable harm to forests and forest ecosystems may also occur.


Illegal logging takes place when timber is harvested, transported, bought or sold in violation of national and/or international laws. It is a pervasive problem in many countries where it is undermining authorities’ efforts to manage forests sustainable. It is difficult to give a global definition of illegal logging because much depends on the specific laws of an individual country. New Zealand accepts that sovereign nations are best placed to confirm the legality of timber operations and timber trade. In cases where forest governance, law enforcement and sustainable forest management (SFM) are weaker than desired, we acknowledge that partnerships involving the sharing of information and best practices may be helpful in ensuring legality. EXAMPLES OF ILLEGAL LOGGING

Examples of illegal logging are:
• logging protected species;
• duplication of felling licenses;
• logging in protected areas;
• logging outside concession boundaries;
• logging in prohibited areas such as steep slopes, riverbanks and water catchments;
• logging without authorization;
• Obtaining logging concessions through bribes;
• Transporting illegally harvested timber;
• Exporting timber in contravention of national bans;
• Declaring lower values and volumes than actually exported;
• Ignoring environmental, social and labor laws and regulation.

Illegal Logging: Background and Issues

Illegal logging is a pervasive problem affecting countries that produce, export, and import wood and wood products. Some have estimated that between 2% and 4% of softwood lumber1 and plywood traded globally, and as much as 23% to 30% of hardwood lumber and plywood traded globally, could be from illegal logging activities. The World Bank estimates that illegal logging costs governments approximately $15 billion annually in lost royalties.3 Illegal logging is a concern to many because of its economic implications as well as its environmental, social, and political impacts. Some are concerned that U.S. demand for tropical timber from countries in Latin America and Southeast Asia may be a driver of illegal logging.

The United States is the world’s largest wood products consumer and one of the top importers of tropical hardwoods. For example, the United States is the largest importer of Peruvian mahogany, which some estimate to be 80% illegally logged. Some others contend that illegal logging activities devalue U.S. exports of timber. According to one study, illegal logging of round wood and its wood products depresses world wood prices on average by 7%-16% annually. If there were no illegally logged wood in the global market, it has been projected that the value of U.S. exports of round wood, sawn wood, and panels could increase by an average of approximately $460 million each year. This estimate is provided by a U.S. industry trade association opposed to low-cost imports

Statement of the problem

Illegal logging has caused extreme damage to the environment, the problem in this study is what are the causes of illegal logging and how can we stop this problem from growing.

Significance of the study

The significance of this study is to show that Illegal is not only causing problems to the world but to our society as well. Every year, millions of trees are being cut down with out being replaced just for the sake of furniture making and other activities involving lumber, wood, timber, etc. If we could minimize the cases of illegal logging by at least 35% in estimation, it will be a big help also to minimize the cases of landslides and erosions which can be proved to be fatal to us humans.

Scope and Scale of Illegal Logging

No internationally accepted definition of illegal logging exists, and there is considerable debate over definitions that have been presented. For example, logging without a government-approved management plan may be legal in parts of the United States, but illegal in Brazil. Definitions of illegal logging can be specific or broad. Illegal logging can be broadly defined as “large scale, destructive forest harvesting that transgresses the laws of the nation where said harvesting occurs.” An example of a specific definition is provided by Conteras-Hermosilla, where 12 activities are defined as illegal logging, including the following:

* Logging protected species;
* Duplication of felling licenses;
* Girdling or ring-barking, to kill trees so that they can be legally logged;
* Contracting with local entrepreneurs to buy logs from protected areas;
* Logging in protected areas;
* Logging outside concession boundaries;
* Logging in prohibited areas such as steep slopes, riverbanks, and water catchments;
* Removing under/oversized trees from public forests;
* Extracting more timber than authorized;
* Reporting high volumes of timber extracted in forest concessions to mask the volume taken from areas outside concession boundaries; * Logging without authorization; and
* Obtaining logging concessions through bribes.

Due to the often clandestine nature of illegal logging, the variability in defining illegal logging, and the difficulty of obtaining large-scale data on illegal logging practices in many countries, estimates on the extent of illegal logging are difficult to quantify. A variety of techniques are used to determine where illegal logging is most prevalent. Examples include government records, court cases, witness accounts, interviews, and satellite imagery. Using these data and other sources, some estimate that the three countries where illegal logging is greatest (in terms of volume in 2003) are Russia, Indonesia, and Brazil.

Definition of terms

Illegal logging is a pervasive problem, causing enormous damage to forests, local communities and to the economies of producer countries. Despite the economic importance of trade in timber and forest products, major international timber consumer countries, such as the EU, have no legal means to halt the import of illegally sourced forest products,because the identification of illegally logged or traded timber is technically difficult. Therefore, a legal basis for normative acts against timber imports or other products manufactured out of illegal wood is missing. Scientific methods to pinpoint the geographic origin of timber are currently under development. Possible actions to restrict imports cannot meet with WTO regulations of non-discrimination. They must instead be arranged in bilateral agreements.

II. Review of related literature
Forests around the world are in serious crisis. The habitats that animals and indigenous tribes call home are being destroyed at a very alarming rate, most of them illegally. Illegal logging and deforestation practices are changing the ecosystem in which we all live. Life cycles of plants and animals are being forcibly changed and the animals that depend on the forests for shelter and food have to move to other locations just to survive. In fact, the debate has been raised whether or not the supposed increasing deer population is really a matter of an increase in population or not. This is a legitimate question. As we continue to clear out forests to make room for strip malls, retail outlets and housing developments, we are clearing out their homes. Where else are these animals supposed to go? This is why they end up in the backyards of so many Americans. Shouldn’t we be to blame? In some parts of the Amazon in 2003, the deforestation rate was the second highest ever recorded at 26,130 square kilometers. Sadly, some figures conclude that over 1.6 billion people depend on the forests for their livelihood and 60 million for their subsistence.

Southwest Asia in particular, is seeing illegal logging at devastating rates. The wildlife that call the islands of Sumatra and Borneo home could be facing extinction if something is not done right away. In fact, some numbers show that at the current rate of destruction, 98% of the remaining forestation could be gone on those islands by 2022. Orangutans in particular are facing the biggest threat in these areas. Between poaching, logging and forest fires, a species that once numbered in the hundreds of thousands is one of the most endangered species in the world today. There are many reasons for the illegal deforestation around the world. The money obtained from the illegal logging is used to fund wars, money laundering and other organized crime activities. Unfortunately, the problem stems from weak governing over the timber trade. Neither the US or Japan has laws prohibiting the import of illegally logged timber. All this does is allow theses companies to boost profits and continue destroying our precious forests. So, what can you do about it? When it comes down to it, the problem must be addressed by the current administration.

Get involved with Greenpeace, or go to sites such as and make your voice known. It is up to federal governments throughout the world to stand up and stop accepting the illegally logged timbers. As long as countries continue to provide revenue to these companies, the illegal logging will continue. One program started to stop the illegal logging in Indonesia, uses a bar code system, a system that the United States knows quite well. The program, funded by The Home Depot and the US and British Agencies for International Development, has been very successful thus far. It works by using computerized bar codes on timber coming in from the country. It is a tracking device that helps ensure that the timber was logged legally.

These bar code tags will give timber avirtual fingerprint and is unique to the log it is attached to. The tag gives specific information, including exactly where it came  from. Being that 75% of Indonesia’s logging practices are of the illegal nature, a tracking measure is the only way to ensure that the United States and other countries alike, are not accepting illegal timber. The whole point of such a measure is to let logging companies know that the consumer will know the difference between legal and illegal timber. This has and will continue to force illegal logging companies to comply with the legal practices already in place. III. Research design

The research design of this study will be a case design.


This study will be focused on what causes illegal logging and its effect on the environment and a country’s economical and political status.

Sources of data

The data will be mostly from the Internet and some books because it is easy for me to gain access on the net with one click and gaining the information needed in seconds.


The instrument used in this study will be the person in the study will be myself.

IV. Results and findings

I have found out that illegal logging is on a large scale and continues to grow and threatens to destroys nature. But it is not yet to late for us to help, we can help by at least helping our government or ourselves by simply replacing the trees that were cut down. In doing so, we will be able to minimize the chances of landslides and erosion and at the same time save more lives that we could ever imagine.

V. Summary, conclusion and recommendation

This study is all about illegal logging and is mainly focused on its negative effects and how to minimize its negative effects in both the environment and the people.

I therefore conclude that illegal logging is now on a large scale but can still be minimized through our cooperation and avoiding products from illegally acquired forestry products.

I recommend everyone to apply the concept of this study in order for us to preserve what nature is and replace all that was lost in it.

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