News

Illegal Logging Down by One Quarter Worldwide

Illegal Logging Down by One Quarter Worldwide
Illegal Logging Down by One Quarter Worldwide

Multimedia

Good news has emerged this month for the world's forests.  A new report from the London-based research group Chatham House says illegal logging is down by over 20 percent globally and by much more than that in some of the countries worst affected by the problem.  The news comes only weeks after the European Parliament voted in new laws banning imports of illegally-harvested wood.  

Forests are home to two-thirds of the world's land animals and some 60 million indigenous people depend on them for their livelihood.  But in recent decades, the world's forests have been stripped of trees at a rapid pace. Illegal logging has played a big part.

However, it looks as if the tide may be turning.  A new report says more than 17 million hectares of forest have been saved in recent years because of a major clampdown on illegal logging.

"Brazil, Cameroon, and Indonesia have all reduced illegal logging significantly - one of our indicators suggest that the illegal logging in each of those countries may have been reduced by anywhere from half to three-quarters," noted Sam Lawson, the report's lead author.  "Illegal logging is down and that has important impacts in terms of trying to prevent deforestation."

Illegal logging is down in part because export countries are cracking down on the problem.
In Cameroon, independent monitoring of forest law enforcement has helped.  Lawson says consumer countries are also having a big impact.

"The most important step is one they're only beginning to take now and that's to prohibit the import and sale of timber which was illegally sourced in the country of origin," added Lawson.  "That's something the US did in 2008 and it's something the European Union is now in the process of doing."

The crackdown has meant a 20 percent downturn in illegal logging. And Lawson says that is real progress he says. But the starting point was so high that even now the problem remains widespread.

In Indonesia 80 percent of the logs harvested in 2001 were cut illegally.  Today, the number is still 40 percent.  Part of the problem is that a number of big importers, such as China and Japan, are not doing enough to stop the import and sale of illegal timber.

And Lawson says producing countries have only taken the first steps towards regulating the industry.

"Some of the easiest wins have already been won - you know, the low hanging fruit have been picked," Lawson explained.  "So it's going to get increasingly difficult to make gains."

That's bad news for the environment, he says, because deforestation produces around 17 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

David Ritter from Greenpeace says ending illegal logging will slow down global warming.

"Illegal logging is such a big problem simply because of the size of it. We're talking about a vast number of trees that are taken out of forests every year, which are contributing to that one-fifth of global emissions that comes from deforestation and contributing to the loss of wildlife, contributing to the loss of people's livelihoods and contributing to the loss of revenue from governments," noted Ritter.

Even after a decade-long decline in illegal logging, Ritter says, there's still a long way to go.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs