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.

20 Forest Rangers in the Philippines have been killed between from 2010 when a ban on logging was enacted and October 2012, according to the Philippine Government.

Over the past century, the country has lost over half of its forests, with 7.6 million hectares of forests remaining.

The Forest Rangers earn $260 (11,000 Philippine Pesos) a month.

Source:  Cecil Morella, “Rangers losing battle in Philippine forests,” Inquirer, October 2, 2012.

The United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol stated in September 2012 that illegal logging activities accounts for 30 percent of all woods traded globally.

In areas such as the Amazon basin, Central Africa and Southeast Asia, the rate of illegal logging is between 50 to 90 percent of all logging activities.

AFP, “Organised crime moving into logging: UN, Interpol,” Google News, September 27, 2012.

Illegal logging activities in Tanzania is estimated to cut down up to 500,000 hectares of forest each year. The entire country has 33.5 million hectares of forest.

Between 2004 and 2005, up to $58 Million was lost to illegal logging in Tanzania due to corruption, according to Traffic International.

Source:  “Illegal logging costs the nation in revenue,” DailyNews, September 24, 2012.


International Police Organization INTERPOL reported in September 2012 that the value of illegal logging in 2012 was worth over $30 Billion a year. The figure reported by INTERPOL is double the $15 Billion reported by the World Bank in March 2012.

INTERPOL stated that over $8 Billion worth of illegal logging activities takes place in Indonesia alone.

Source:  James Melik, “Interpol clamps down on illegal logging,” BBC News, September 10, 2012.

A report released by environmental group Global Witness states that up to one-quarter of all logging permits issued in Liberia within a two-year period were illegally granted.

Source:  Elizabeth Rosenthal, “Illegal Logging Deals Rife in Liberia, Group Reports,” New York Times, Green Blog, September 4, 2012.

An illegal logger told a reporter that he is able to make around $150 a month from illegally cutting down 10 trees in Zimbabwe.

Government officials estimate that illegal logging in the country causes several millions of dollars in lost tax revenue.

Source:  “‘Illegal logging costs Zim millions of dollars’”, Standard, August 20, 2012.

According to the Colombian Government’s Forest Sustainability Project, illegal logging activities in the country generates up to $200 Million a year. This is higher than the previously reported losses of $60 Million.

Up to 42 percent of the forests in Colombia are illegally cut.

Source:  Edward Fox, “Colombia Seizes 450 Tons of Illegal Timber,” InSight Crime, June 8, 2012.

According to the World Bank, illegal logging in Peru generates profits of $72 Million a year for illegal loggers. Up to 80 percent of the country’s total timer exports are illegal logged.

Sellers can earn up to $1,700 for an illegally cut mahogany tree and up to $1,000 for a cedar tree on the black market.

Source:  Elyssa Pachico, “Drug Traffickers Take Note of Peru’s Illegal Timber Trade,” InSight, April 17, 2012.

The United Nations Environment Programme reported that between 15 to 30 percent of the world’s timber supply is provided by illegal logging activities.

Source:  Stanley Johnson, “Interpol demands crackdown on ‘serious and organised’ eco crime,” Guardian, March 29, 2012.

The World Bank estimated in a March 2012 report that illegal logging generates up to $15 Billion a year for criminal gangs involved in the activity.

Illegal logging destroys forest land that size of a football field every 2 seconds around the world, according to the World Bank.

Source:  Deborah Zabarenko, “Follow the money to catch illegal loggers: World Bank,” Reuters, March 20, 2012.