Improving Forest Governance and Tackling Illegal Logging and Deforestation

Forests make a vital contribution to tackling climate change and supporting sustainable development and green growth. However this precious resource is 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 Indicators of Illegal Logging 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.

Contacts

Alison Hoare

+ 44 (0)207 314 3651

Explore our work on Forest Governance, Illegal Logging and Deforestation

Latest (72)
German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt, Spanish Agriculture and Environment Minister Miguel Arias Canete, EU commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos and Austrian minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment, & Water Mana
Research paper

EUTR Competent Authority Survey

Deforestation of hillside for agricultural use in Papua New Guinea. Aerial view over terraces and surrounding forest. Photo by: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG/Getty Images.
Research paper

Illegal Logging in Papua New Guinea

A front end loader moves a teak timber log from Myanmar on the dockside at the Kolkata Dock System (KDS), part of the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), in Kolkata, West Bengal, India 16 April 2014. Photo by Sanjit Das/Bloomberg/Getty Images.
Research paper

The EU Timber Regulation and CITES

Greenpeace environmental activists hold up a banner reading 'Forest Crime Scene' near allegedly illegal Wenge wood from Congo on 1 July 2013, Horni Pocaply, in the Central Bohemia, Czech Republic. Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images.
Research paper

Illegal Logging in the Republic of Congo

A ferry transports timber along the Kalnidi river in the Indian state of West Bengal, bordering Bangladesh's Satkhira district, near Satnabad 13 September 2012. Photo by Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/GettyImages.
Research paper

Illegal Wood Import and Re-export: The Scale of the Problem and the Response in Thailand, South Korea and India

Teak timber logs from Myanmar sit on the dockside at the Kolkata Dock System (KDS), part of the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), in Kolkata, West Bengal, India 16 April 16 2014. Photo by Sanjit Das/Bloomberg/Getty Images.
Research paper

Methodology for Import-source Estimates of Illegally Sourced Wood Imports: Thailand, South Korea and India

Children slide down logs 13 June 2008 in Katwe, 160km north of the provincial capital Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Armed groups which continue to roam the lawless east of the country control much of the logging and charcoal industry. Photo by Lione
Research paper

Illegal Logging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

FSC sustainable logging being carried out in the natural forest around the Alpicam logging concession in the Kika region of Cameroon 7 June 2010. Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images.
Research paper

Europe’s Forest Strategy in the Next Decade: Options for the Voluntary Partnership Agreements

Children sitting on logs on the outskirts of Yangon May 4, 2014. An insatiable world appetite for precious hardwoods is threatening rare species and helping to drive deforestation in one of the last major areas of tropical forest in Asia. Photo by Ye Aung
Expert comment

Weak Enforcement Holds Back EU’s Fight Against Illegal Logging

Research Event

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Meeting Number 23

Finnish Green party EU deputy Satu Hassi, who negotiated a deal with the 27 EU states, votes on banning illegal timber trade from the EU market on 7 July 2010 at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Photo by Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images.
Research paper

Imports of Composite Wood Products into the EU and Implications for the EU Timber Regulation – Furniture Sector Focus

Expert comment

Ending Global Deforestation: Policy Options for Consumer Countries

Photo by Vaara/iStock.
Chatham House Report

Ending Global Deforestation: Policy Options for Consumer Countries

Expert comment

Illegal Logging: Are We Making Progress?

Research Event

Illegal Logging Stakeholder Consultation and Update Meeting Number 22

Combating Illegal Logging
Chatham House Briefing

Combating Illegal Logging: Interaction with WTO Rules

Research paper

The Australian Government's Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill: WTO Implications

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Number 19

Other resource

19th Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation

Research Event

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Number 18

Pages

Research & Publications (37)
Soy plantation in Amazon rainforest near Santarem, Brazil. Photo: Ricardo Beliel/Brazil Photos/LightRocket via Getty Images.
Research paper

Managing the Risk of Stranded Assets in Agriculture and Forestry

A member of the Flona Tapajos Cooperative prepares to cut a tree inside their 'authorized maneuvre area' 80 km from Santarem, northern Brazil, 27 November 2009. Photo: Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images.
Research paper

Improving Legality Among Small-Scale Forest Enterprises: The Role of National-Level Indicators Within the SDGs

An employee arranges packages of instant ramen noodles a store in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Research paper

Agricultural Commodity Supply Chains: Trade, Consumption and Deforestation

Workers sort cocoa fruits near the Mendoa Chocolates plant in the state of Bahia near Ilheus, Brazil, on 29 May 2015. Photo: Paulo Fridman/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Research paper

Reducing Deforestation in Agricultural Commodity Supply Chains: Using Public Procurement Policy

Photo: iStock
Chatham House Report

Tackling Illegal Logging and the Related Trade: What Progress and Where Next?

Pallisco logging company's FSC timber operations in Mindourou, Cameroon. Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images.
Research paper

Illegal Logging and Related Trade: The Response in Cameroon

A truck hauls fresh timber from mountainous terrain in the Limbang area of Sarawak, Borneo. Photo by Yvan Cohen/LightRocket via Getty Images.
Research paper

Illegal Logging and Related Trade: The Response in Malaysia

Two plantation workers tie logs to load a forest train at the lumber storage yard in Wangqing County of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, Jilin Province, China. Photo by China Photos/Getty Images.
Research paper

Trade in Illegal Timber: The Response in China

A motoryclist rides past a private wood processing workshop in HanoI, Vietnam. Photo by HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images.
Research paper

Trade in Illegal Timber: The Response in Vietnam

Uncut lumber sits stacked in the yard at the sawmill of the Doll Lumber Co. in Southington, Ohio, US. Photo by Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Research paper

Trade in Illegal Timber: The Response in the United States

Photo: iStockphoto
Research paper

Trade in Illegal Timber: The Response in the Netherlands

A timber company's vehicle driving down a dirt road. Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images.
Research Paper Appendix

Methodology for Estimating Levels of Illegal Timber- and Paper-sector Imports: Estimates for China, France, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK, the US and Vietnam

A worker walks near a log to be processed at the Okikura Lumber Mill facility, Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi / Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Research paper

Trade in Illegal Timber: The Response in Japan

A worker unloads timber in La Rochelle, western France, after Greenpeace activists climbed on cranes at the harbor to stop the Safmarine Sahara cargo ship from docking and wrote 'illegal timber' on its hull. Photo: XAVIER LEOTY / AFP / Getty Images.
Research paper

Trade in Illegal Timber: The Response in France

The word 'Illegal' is seen on tree trunks as Greenpeace activists demonstrate against the illegal importation of timber. Photo: XAVIER LEOTY / AFP / Getty Images.
Research paper

Trade in Illegal Timber: The Response in the United Kingdom

Timber and logging railroad used to transport logs made by illegal loggers at Kerumutan protected tropical rainforest on July 12, 2014 in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images.
Research paper

Illegal Logging and Related Trade: The Response in Indonesia

View of a tree in a deforested area in the middle of the Amazon jungle during an overflight by Greenpeace activists over areas of illegal exploitation of timber in the state of Para, Brazil. Photo by RAPHAEL ALVES/AFP/Getty Images.
Research paper

Illegal Logging and Related Trade: The Response in Brazil

Exotic species of hardwood timber harvested from Ghana's rain forests, at a sawmill in Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region in Ghana. Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images.
Research paper

Illegal Logging and Related Trade: The Response in Ghana

This aerial picture shows a logging site inside a forest in Boulikhamsai. Photo by HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images.
Research paper

Illegal Logging and Related Trade: The Response in Lao PDR

Logging and timber production and transportation at Craignure on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Research paper

Promoting Legal and Sustainable Timber: Using Public Procurement Policy

Pages

Past events (29)
Research Event

Next Steps for the Indicators of Illegal Logging

Research Event

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Meeting Number 27

Research Event

Integrating FLEGT and the Sustainable Development Goals

Research Event

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Meeting Number 26

Research Event

Estimating Levels of Illegal Logging and the Related Trade: Lessons from the Indicators Project

Research Event

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Number 25

Research Event

The Impact of Mining on Forests: Information Needs for Effective Policy Responses

Research Event

Green Public Procurement and Consumer Awareness in the FLEGT Action Plan

Research Event

FLEGT Action Plan Governance Progress: Transparency, Accountability, Equity

Research Event

Voluntary Partnership Agreements in the FLEGT Action Plan - UK Consultation

Research Event

Legal Aquisition of CITES Timber: Lessons from the Congo Basin

Research Event

EUTR Workshop: Substantiated Concerns and Producer Country Cooperation

Research Event

Transatlantic Dialogue on Reducing Deforestation in Supply Chains of Agricultural Commodities

Research Event

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Meeting Number 24

Small-scale and Community Forest Producers: Challenges and Opportunities of Legality Verification

Research Event

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Meeting Number 23

Research Event

Illegal Logging Stakeholder Consultation and Update Meeting Number 22

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Number 19

Research Event

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Number 18

Research Event

Illegal Logging Update and Stakeholder Consultation Number 17

Pages