Efforts to tackle illegal destruction of the world’s rainforests have been a success, according to a new report that details a significant fall in unauthorised logging.
The Chatham House study, released today, says that illegal logging has dropped by between 50 and 75% across Cameroon, Indonesia and the Brazilian Amazon over the last decade; globally it has dropped by one-fifth since 2002.
The study credits actions taken by governments and pressure groups for the improvement, as well as greater responsibility across the private sector.
Sam Lawson, associate fellow at Chatham House and lead author of the report, said: “Up to a billion of the world’s poorest people are dependent on forests, and reductions in illegal logging are helping to protect their livelihoods.” The fall in illegal logging, if continued, could save billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and help the fight against global warming, the report says.
The change over the last decade has seen 17m hectares of forest saved from degradation, preventing the release of 1.2bn tonnes of CO2 emissions. Viewed another way, if the trees saved were legally logged and sold, this could bring an extra US$6.5bn in additional income to the forest nations.
Stephen O’Brien, international development minister, said: “In the world’s poorest countries, illegal logging fuels corruption and results in billions of pounds in lost revenue every year. For the hundreds of millions of people across the globe who depend on forests for their livelihood, curbing illegal logging means vital sources of income remain protected…
Mind, illegal logging ain’t halted. But, it’s great to see a combination of forces achieving the level of success that exists.
Folks always forget that crimes that seem to produce short-term gains even at the consumption end of the market cycle – in truth, screw everyone else along the supply chain. There isn’t anyone in manufacturing or distribution of illicit products who is earning as much as someone employed in legitimate work.