The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that the value of logging traded out of East Asia and the Pacific that was unlicensed is worth $17 Billion. The amount of the illegal logging trade in the region makes up to 30 to 40 percent of all timber and wood products exported.
Source: ”Transnational Organized Crime in East Asia and the Pacific: A Threat Assessment,” UNODC, April 2013, Executive Summary, page viii.
An investigation by the WWF-Russia reports that half of the Mongolian oak that was cut down in Russia and shipped to China in 2010 was illegally logged. In 2007 and 2008, the illegal timber was four times as large as the legitimate trade.
In 2011, there were a reported 691 cases of illegal logging in Primorsky Province. 16 percent of the cases were brought to trial, the lowest level in 10 years.
Source: ”Russian forests and tigers left floored by illegal logging,” WWF, April 16, 2013.
Between 50 to 90 percent of logging activities in tropical countries are done by criminal organizations, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
The areas where organized crime groups have a strong presence in the logging industry is in the Amazon basin, Central Africa and South East Asia.
Source: Achim Steiner, “Opening Statement of the Executive Director of UNEP,” Sixteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, March 3, 2013.
A report by the Environmental Investigation Agency found that up to 48 percent of the timber from Mozambique that is exported to China was illegally logged. This activity costs the Government of Mozambique $30 Million in lost tax revenue.
Source: Pamela Dockins, “Illegal Logging Costs Mozambique, Other Countries,” Voice of America, February 14, 2013.
A former head of the forest management board in a forest in Vietnam was sentenced to jail for 12 years for allowing loggers to illegally cut down trees and to smuggle the timber out of the forest.
The illegal loggers paid the official $2,300 (48 Million Vietnamese Dong) when they cut down trees between June 2010 to June 2011.
(More prices of bribes paid around the world.)
Source: “Corrupt forest rangers jailed over illegal logging scheme,” VietNamNet, February 5, 2013.
Between 2008 and 2010, the Environmental Investigation Agency estimates that wood that was illegally cut in Peru accounted for up to 35 percent of the country’s exports of Spanish cedar and big leaf mahogany. Most of the wood that is exported from Peru is used in high-end furniture.
Illegal loggers in Peru can make up to $1,000 for selling a ceder tree on the black market.
Source: Simeon Tegel, “Peru exporting outlawed timber from Amazon to the US,” Global Post, February 2, 2013.
Between 2007 and 2012, prosecutors in the Philippines filed 8 cases of illegal logging activities.
6 of the cases have been dismissed.
Source: Melvin Gascon, “Is Quirino’s drive on illegal logging worth dying for?,” Inquirer, January 29, 2013.
In 2011, unauthorized timber activities in Russia generated 10 million cubic meters of logs and timber to China. The value of the illegal exports was worth $1.3 Billion, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency.
(See more statistics about crime in Russia.)
Source: Howard Amos, “Chinese Timber Hunger Drives Illegal Logging in Russia’s Far East,” Moscow Times, December 5, 2012.
Between 2000 and 2011, the number of foreign timber imported into China’s manufacturing industry tripled to reach 180 million cubic meters in 2011.China is the largest wood importer in the world.
According to estimates by the Environmental Investigation Agency, at least 10 percent of the timber that was imported into China was illegally logged.
Source: AFP, “China demand fuels illegal logging: report,” Google News, November 29, 2012.
In February 2011, the Government of the Philippines issued an Executive Order to address the illegal wood industry in the country. One portion of the order was to establish the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (AILTF). Between 2011 and 2012, up to 25 civilian members of the task force were killed.
During the same time period, the number of hotspots in the Philippines where unauthorized logging was highly active decreased from 197 to 31. Authorities seized 19.2 million board feet of logs that were illegally cut, and convicted 72 people.
Source: TJ Burgonio, “Aquino to AFP: Get illegal loggers,” Inquirer, November 26, 2012.