Improving Forest Governance and Tackling Illegal Logging and Deforestation

Forests make a vital contribution to tackling climate change and supporting sustainable development. However they are under threat from illegal logging and deforestation.

In response to this, a range of initiatives and policies have emerged aimed at improving governance of the forest sector and tackling corruption and inequity. Many of these have targeted illegal logging which results from weak governance and also undermines efforts to reform the sector.

The project

Chatham House has been working on forest governance, illegal logging and deforestation since 2000, undertaking in-depth research and analysis and bringing together experts and stakeholders at meetings and conferences. We also host the Illegal Logging Portal a website with the latest news, research and events related to these issues.

The aim of our work is to identify policy options that will enable the forestry sector to play a positive role in achieving sustainable development. In particular, it aims to establish: 

  • More effective implementation of existing measures to tackle the illegal timber trade;
  • Robust policy responses by new and emerging consumers of the illegal timber trade;
  • Stronger global policy responses to reduce the drivers for illegal forest conversion.

Our work

Much of our work focuses on efforts to tackle the international trade in illegal timber. This includes the Forest Governance and Legality project which investigates the nature and extent of illegal logging and the associated trade in illegal timber, as well as the effectiveness of the response to this issue by both the government and the private sector.

Additionally, our research examines the policy nexus between illegal logging, deforestation, sustainable development and green growth. This is in response to growing pressure from other land-use sectors on forests, and it includes exploring those policy measures aimed at reducing deforestation associated with agriculture and mining.

We are also working on improving understanding of the environmental impacts of the international trade in natural resources particularly the effect on forests. This includes the development of Chatham House’s Resource Trade Database which enables assessments of the environmental impacts of the production and trade of natural resources.