Posted on: 20 December 2008
Illegal logging is a pervasive problem of major international concern, as it leads to deforestation, one
of the main causes for climate change. Illegal logging for international markets is often a form of organised crime. Like other criminal activities it takes place covertly. This is why no one can calculate the quantity of wood of illegal origin in international trade with exact certainty. This study thus aims to give an estimate of the orders of magnitude of timber from illegal sources which reach the European market. All products in which wood was used as a raw material were included for this purpose. The European Union foreign trade data from 2006, calculated back to the quantity of raw timber that was
needed to produce the imported products (raw timber equivalent), is used as a basis. The share of illegal logging in global wood production is estimated at 20% to 40%, and the economic loss through lost receipts for the state, industry and forest owners is estimated at US$ 15 billion (9, 5 billion euro) per year. Illegal logging pushes wood prices down worldwide by 7% to 16%. This economic loss for legitimately operating companies is compounded by the damage both to the image of wood as a
sustainable raw material and to the responsible forestry sector.