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.

Over the course of two decades, up to 1.4 million hectares of forest land in Cambodia was destroyed by illegal logging, agriculture clearing, and charcoal and firewood gathering.

Source:  Borin Noun, “Cambodia’s Amazon under threat,” Asia Sentinel, March 7, 2012.

Transparency International-Malaysia reported that illegal logging in Malaysia causes losses of $281 Million (800 to 900 Million Malaysian Ringgit) annually.

Source:  Isabelle Lai, “Malaysia loses RM900mil a year to illegal deforestation,” The Star, February 2, 2012.

Environmental officials in Greece filed 1,500 criminal complaints of illegal logging in 2011, double the amount of cases that was investigated in 2010.

Authorities attributed the rise in illegal logging in part to an increase in heating oil prices, which lead to people cutting down wood for fuel.

Source:  AFP, “Greeks ‘fell trees for warmth’ amid economic chill,” Google News, January 25, 2012.


In 2010, authorities in Malaysia handled 54 cases of illegal logging. In the first ten months of 2011, 17 cases of illegal logging was opened.

Forest officials report that an increase in enforcement activities and the hiring of more officers lead to the continual decrease in illegal logging cases from 2006.

The Forestry Department stats that illegally logged timber leaving the forests of Malaysia consists of just 0.01 percent of all timber.

Source: Punitha Kumar, “Stamping out logging menace,” New Straits Times, December 17, 2011.

6,238 sq km (2,400 sq miles) of rainforest in Brazil was destroyed and lost between August 2010 and July 2011. The area of deforestation was 11 percent lower than the previous year. Government officials claimed that the drop in deforestation was due to tougher enforcement and prevention of illegal logging.

The rate of deforestation was during the 2003 -2004 time period, where 27,700 sq km (10,700 sq miles) was cut down.

Most of the illegal logging activities in Brazil is for cattle farming, timber, and crop farming.

Source: “Brazil Amazon deforestation ‘at lowest level in years’,” BBC News, December 6, 2011.

Forest Authorities in Greece reported that illegal logging activities across the country accounts for up to 30 percent of all lost forestland that happens each year.

In the Foloi Forest in Western Greece, between 10 to 15 percent of the forest is lost each year due to illegal logging.

Between January and November 2011, authorities received over 100 reports and complaints about illegal logging, compared to 80 in 2010.

Source: “Illegal logging takes bite out of forests,”, November 22, 2011.

Organized crime groups in Malaysia are illegally logging agarwood in order to extract gaharu oil. The oil is then sold to in the Middle East for $43 (140 Malaysian Ringgits) for 10 milliliters.

Source: Josephine Jalleh, “Illegal logging for agar wood continues in forest reserve,” Malaysian Star, October 10, 2011.

Over 1,000 trees are estimated to be illegally logged each day in the Masoala rainforest in Madagascar.

Back in 2009, illegal logging activities increased by 25 percent.

Source: Associated Press, “Madagascar holds concert against illegal logging,” Google News, September 30, 2011. 

Illegal logging in Colombia is worth $60 Million a year, with 42 percent of all timber sold in the country being illegally felled.

The cost to extract one cubic meter legally felled wood in Colombia is $334.64. The cost when illegally logging is $195.80 per cubic meter.

Source: Toni Peters, “42% of Colombian timber illegal, worth $60 million a year,” Colombia Reports, August 29, 2011.

The Environmental Investigation Agency reported that up to 500,000 cubic meters of timber is illegally logged and smuggled into Vietnam from Laos every year. The timber is valued at $150 Million.

Source: AFP, “Vietnam army smuggling timber in Laos: activists,” Google News, July 28, 2011.