Programme Paper

Sam Lawson
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.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.

This paper is part of a broader Chatham House study which assesses illegal logging and the associated trade. The study, which began in 2006, measures the nature and extent of the problem, and the effectiveness of the response by both the government and the private sector in a number of producer, processing and consumer countries. 

  • Thailand, South Korea and India are among the world’s principal importers of illegally sourced timber and wood products, each sourcing timber from some of the countries most badly affected by illegal logging.
     
  • There has been very limited recognition of the problem in these three countries to date, and none of the governments has yet developed an action plan or policies to address it.
     
  • The response of the private sector in all three countries has also been slow: as most high-risk wood is consumed domestically, a lack of consumer concern and government regulation has provided little incentive for companies to take action.
     
  • There has nevertheless been some indication of growing awareness of the issue of illegal trade: Thailand has entered into formal Voluntary Partnership Agreement negotiations with the EU, while Korea has recently passed new legislation that includes provisions to tackle illegal logging and trade.
     
  • Further action is needed in all three countries to build on these positive steps.