Illegal Logging

News, information and statistics about illegal logging and the destruction of forests. Data about the illegal timber trade is collected from various wildlife charities, environmental protection agencies and other criminal justice information.

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) in bribes when they cut down trees between June 2010 to June 2011.

(Political corruption 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.

The Government of Australia estimated in 2012 that over 10 percent of the timber that is imported into the country was illegal logged. Based on the value of Australia’s logging industry, the value of illegally logged timber in the country is worth $4.1 Billion (4 Billion Australian Dollars).

Source:  James Grubel and David Fogarty, “Australia passes illegal logging laws, joins EU, U.S.,” Reuters, November 20, 2012.

According to environmental officials in Cambodia, loggers and traders are able to make thousands of dollars through illegal logging activities in the country.

Villagers in forest areas cut down trees and sell it to illegal traders who pay up to $1,500 per cubic meter of rosewood. The trader than brings the rosewood to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, and sell it for $5,000. The wood to then smuggled into Vietnam and eventually into China, where an unprocessed cubic meter of rosewood can be sold to manufactures for $50,000.

Between 1990 and 2010, around 2.8 million hectares of forest was lost to logging in Cambodia.

Source: Paul Vrieze and Neou Vannarin, “Cambodia: shrinking forests breed violence,” GlobalPost, November 12, 2012.

A report published by the United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol stated that illegal loggers pay between $25,000 to $50,000 in bribes for permits from government officials that allow them to log in restricted areas. Illegal loggers in Indonesia pay officials between 10 to 40 percent of the value of the logging deal.

(More government corruption examples and cases.)

Source:  “Green Carbon, Black Trade: Illegal Logging , Tax Fraud and Landering in The World’s Tropical Forests,” United Nations Environmental Programme and Interpol, 2012, page 6, 33.