Paper prepared for FAO by Kenneth Rosenbaum
In the last few years, illegal logging has emerged as a serious worldwide concern in the forest sector. Individuals from all spheres, including government officials, businesspersons and social activists, denounce it. But what is it? And what are people doing about it?
This background paper offers general answers to those questions. It begins by looking at what people have included in the term illegal logging. It then briefly discusses why illegal logging is a concern to such a wide and varying group. Finally, it describes some recent activities that have been developed to fight illegal logging.
What is `illegal logging'?
`Illegal logging' has no single definition. It is not a legal term derived from treaties, statutes, or court opinions. Neither is it a technical term that professionals use in a consistent way. In a general sense, "illegal logging takes place when timber is harvested, transported, bought or sold in violation of national laws" (Brack & Hayman 2001, p.5).
This broad definition includes almost any illegal act that may occur between the actual growing of the tree to the arrival of the forest-based product in the hands of the consumer:
• "Illegal acts include...unauthorized occupation of public and private forest lands, logging in protected or environmentally sensitive areas, harvesting protected species of trees, woodland arson, wildlife poaching, unlawful transport of wood and other forest products, smuggling, transfer pricing and other fraudulent accounting practices, unauthorized processing of forest products, violation of environmental regulations, and bribing government officials." (Contreras-Hermosilla 2002)
• "Examples of the types of illegal practices that have been detected in the forest industry...largely fall into three categories: illegal logging of various forms; movement of wood products, which may or may not have been harvested legally, without proper authorization or in contravention of controls; and activities directly aimed at avoidance of payment of taxes or forestry charges." (Calister 1999)
• "There are many types of illegal forest practices...public servants may approve illegal contracts with private enterprises. Private commercial corporations may harvest trees of species that are protected by law from timber exploitation. Individuals and communities may enter public forests and illegally take products that are public property. Illegal activities do not stop at the forest. They travel down the line to operations in transportation, processing and trade of forest products. Individuals or corporations may smuggle forest products across international borders or process forest raw materials without a license. Corporations with strong international links may artificially inflate the price of imported inputs or deflate the volume and prices of their exports to reduce their tax liability and to facilitate the illegal transfer of capital abroad." (FAO 2001, pp. 88 & 90)
Appendix I contains a detailed list of unlawful actions that might be included in the term. Arranged by categories, these actions include:
• Harvest and transport
theft or vandalism of trees or other forest resources;
violation of harvest or management regulations;
civil wrongs, such as breach of contract;
• Sales or processing
fraud (including deceptions about grade, species, volume, origin, or certification status);
violation of sales regulations;
violation of processing regulations;
sham transactions to hide profits, avoid liabilities and taxes, etc.
• Export and import
smuggling and other violations of export controls;
violation of import controls, including tariffs and phytosanitary laws.
• Associated crimes (which may happen anytime from harvest to export)
crimes linked to earlier crimes, such as receiving stolen property or being part of a criminal conspiracy;
evading taxes, tariffs, or fees due to the government;
bribery and extortion.
• Abuse of governmental authority
criminal abuse (e.g. soliciting bribes, exercising favouritism, diverting government income for personal use);
abuse of discretion (e.g. failing to follow required standards and procedures in administering government forests).
Not everyone would agree that all these actions should be considered illegal logging, yet in many contexts people are comfortable using `illegal logging' without strictly defining it. When used in an abstract sense, the term unites people with diverse interests. Environmental activists and directors of multinational corporations, village heads and heads of state, advocates of social justice and advocates of stronger law enforcement - all can agree that illegal logging is detrimental.
Why are people concerned about illegal logging?
Underneath this agreement lies a diversity of concerns about the effects of illegal logging. These concerns include:
• Environment: Illegal logging has destroyed forests and the services they provide: sustainable fuel and fibre supplies, wildlife habitat, water supplies, and other environmental values.
• Commerce: Orderly conduct of business depends on enforcement of property rights, honouring of contracts, and the even-handed application of the law.
• Social welfare: On one hand, illegal logging can be a symptom of laws out of step with local needs; on the other hand, illegal logging can deprive people of access to their own forest resources, expose them to dangers in their work, and turn stable communities into boom-and-bust, unstable communities. In the hands of rebels, criminals, or corrupt officials, income from illegal logging can support violence and repression.
• Governance: Illegal logging is a symptom of the failure to administer justice effectively, and it feeds corruption and organized crime.
• Revenues: Illegal logging has cost governments billions of dollars in lost tax revenue and forest owners billions of dollars in lost stumpage. Because illegal logging is often unsustainable, it robs communities of future income.
Ultimately, these differences in concern lead to disagreements over what illegal logging is, or over what kinds of illegal activity are the most important to combat. For example, when an indigenous group continues to practice slash-and-burn agriculture despite newly enacted bans, a government forester might see illegal logging while a social activist sees a people deprived of their traditional rights. When a paper mill violates recordkeeping requirements under pollution control laws, an environmental activist may decry this as lawless behaviour, while the mill owner considers it only a little more serious than illegally parking a vehicle.
It would be a mistake, however, to make too much of these differences. Environmental activists do value stable business environments, and corporate officials do care about the environment. In the end, the disagreements are more about priorities than about fundamentals. There is general agreement over most of what is meant by illegal logging. This agreement has led to a diverse assortment of responses to combat illegal logging. In some cases, groups that seldom work together have found a common interest in this cause.
Direct action: Local direct action has a low profile, but it has sometimes proved effective on a limited scale. In a 2001, at the World Bank electronic conference, a government forester in Bangladesh reported successfully depriving an illegal logger of local labour by hiring the workers to do reforestation and timber stand improvement. The November 2002 newsletter of the Forest Integrity Network reported two instances of community groups in India rising up to defy and drive away illegal loggers, to protect their traditional forest access (Forest Integrity Network 2002). Indeed, it is a basic assumption of community forestry advocates that when local communities have an economic stake in nearby forests, they will be more likely to protect those forests.
Research and investigation: It has been said of illegal activity that if we could expose and quantify it, we would be halfway towards eliminating it. A number of governments, NGOs, journalists, and academics have been working to shed light on illegal logging.
In some cases, this involves direct field investigation. Prominent NGO examples include the work of the Environmental Investigation Agency, whose "Forests for the World" program has been investigating environmental crimes since the early 1990s. Since 1997, they have joined with Indonesian NGO Telapak to expose environmental crime in that country (Environmental Investigation Agency & Telapak 2001 & 2003). The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's investigative journalism program "Four Corners" recently produced a feature on illegal logging in Indonesia, based in part on the EIA-Telapak work, and coupled the broadcast with an extensive web site (Australian Broadcasting Corp. 2002). The NGO Global Witness is dedicated to exposing environmental abuses linked to human rights abuses. It has written reports on illegal logging in Liberia, Cameroon, Cambodia, and Zimbabwe (see www.globalwitness.org/campaigns/forests). Until this past winter, Global Witness had been working in partnership with the United Nations Development Program, FAO, and the Government of Cambodia to monitor illegal logging in that country (see www.forestcrime.com), but relations between Global Witness and the Cambodian Government have deteriorated (Sipress 2003). Working with other NGOs, Forest Monitor has produced investigative reports of illegal logging in Cameroon (Forest Monitor & Greenpeace 2002) and the Russian Far East (Bureau for Outreach Campaigns et al. 2001), among other places. Greenpeace has investigated and publicized illegal logging in Cameroon, Brazil, the Russian Federation, and other countries (see publications available at http://archive.greenpeace.org/~forests/resources/).
Illegal logging has been the subject of a growing number of academic studies. For example, a conference at Yale University last year drew over a dozen papers on forest crime. Among the presenters, Anita Akella showed through an economic analysis how enforcers could better allocate their resources in Brazil (Akella et al. forthcoming), Richard Dudley presented a systems analysis of the dynamics of illegal logging in Indonesia (Dudley forthcoming), and Nalin Kishor showed correlations between statistical indicators of poor governance and the prevalence of forest crime (Kishor forthcoming). NGOs known for research such as the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) in London have also sponsored studies and conferences.
Training and capacity building: Lack of enforcement skill and technology among government enforcers makes it harder to prevent, detect, or suppress illegal logging. Training can help. Sometimes foresters need to learn how to preserve evidence for use in a criminal trial. Sometimes police need to learn how to tell valid permits and log markings from invalid ones. Sometimes prosecutors and judges need to learn about the serious consequences of forest crime, so that prosecutors will pursue the cases and judges will hand down serious punishments.
In other cases, the problem is not lack of skill but lack of tools. Land tenure records may be so poor that it is difficult to tell who owns the land. Lack of copies of current law may leave enforcers unsure about what rules to enforce. Lack of surveys may make it hard to locate boundaries in the field. Lack of personnel, vehicles, and communication equipment all hinder enforcement. Newer technologies, such as satellite surveillance, global positioning systems, DNA analysis to prove wood origin, and electronic log marking, are promising but expensive. With the aid of international donors, governments are acquiring better tools.
Legal and institutional reform: Reforms of laws and institutions can be powerful tools to fight illegal logging, though the reforms must be carefully tailored to fit local circumstances. In some serious cases, an initial response has been to enact temporary bans on harvest or export. For example, Brazil has recently put a moratorium on the harvest of mahogany, Cambodia has banned commercial harvest, and Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to halt log exports across their mutual border. Though not guaranteed to be effective, bans are easier to enforce than regulatory programs. Longer-term responses have included revamping the laws defining and setting punishments for forest offences; increasing public participation and transparency in forest administration; clarifying the powers, duties, and accountability of government forest officers; and shifting control over the forests within the government or between government and private owners. Some importing countries are considering their own legal reforms, including requiring proof of legal origin of imported wood products and criminalizing trade in wood products harvested in violation of producer-country laws.
Conferences and networking: Conferences, meetings, and workshops on illegal logging have become so common that it is impossible to track them all. Here are some examples of the variety of events in the past few years:
• The World Bank held a Regional Symposium on Strengthening Cooperation for Forestry Law Enforcement in the Mekong Basin Countries, in Phnom Penh, in June 1999.
• The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with Transparency International (TI) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, hosted a workshop on forests and corruption in May 2000. This led to the creation of the Forest Integrity Network, now a project of TI.
• The World Bank/WWF Alliance sponsored a conference on Control of Illegal Logging in East Asia, in Jakarta in August 2000.
• The World Bank and the Government of Indonesia, with support from the United States and the United Kingdom, hosted a meeting on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) in Jakarta in April 2001 as a preliminary to the East Asia FLEG ministerial conference held in Bali in September 2001. Later technical and advisory meetings have followed up on the ministerial conference.
• The World Bank hosted an electronic conference on Forest Law and Governance from May to July 2001.
• The Tenth International Anti-Corruption Conference, in Prague in October 2001, featured a roundtable on corruption and the forest sector. Another is planned for the Eleventh International Conference in Seoul in May 2003.
• FAO convened a panel of experts in Rome to discuss illegal logging in January 2002.
• The World Bank and the WWF held an international workshop and trade show in Phnom Penh in March 2002 on log tracking and verifying wood sources.
• The Forest Leadership Forum, held in Atlanta in April 2002, was originally intended to bring industry and environmental groups together to discuss certification, but the conference organizers expanded the conference to cover illegal logging.
• The EU hosted a workshop on forest law enforcement, governance, and trade in Brussels in April 2002.
• WRI hosted a meeting on monitoring, assessment, and detection of illegal logging in Washington in May 2002.
• The World Bank and others hosted a preliminary African FLEG conference in Brazzaville in June 2002. At this writing, the ministerial conference is expected to take place in Cameroon in April 2003.
• The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIAA) hosted a Stakeholder Meeting on Illegal Logging and the Control of Trade in Illegal Timber in London in December 2002.
Certification and procurement: Lawful producers and many consumers of forest products would be glad to see tainted wood products disappear from the market. The problem is how to identify tainted products. One promising avenue is through certification, which can provide assurances of the origin of wood and the circumstances of its harvest.
Certification systems have grown in popularity in the last decade as a means of ensuring that wood products are harvested sustainably. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), formed by a coalition of environmental NGOs and based in Oaxaca, gave momentum to the certification movement by seeking development of a family of sustainable management standards, each written for a specific area or forest type. While some have embraced the FSC standards, some industrial groups and landowners have responded by developing alternative certification systems. European industry and forest owners have promoted development of mutually recognized national standards, under the umbrella of the Pan European Forest Certification (PEFC) Council. As of 2002, the PEFC Council had endorsed thirteen European national certification systems and was reviewing systems in six other European nations and six non-European nations, including Brazil, Chile, Malaysia, and Australia. US forest product companies have developed the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. US private landowners have updated a decades-old standard, the American Tree Farm System, to reflect current sustainable management concepts. Canadian industry has developed the Canadian Standards Association CAN/CSA Z809 standard. Some Asian governments have been promoting standard development, with Indonesia helping create Lembaga Ekolabel Indonesia (LEI) and Malaysia helping to create the Malaysian Certification Council & National Timber Certification Council (NTCC). In Africa, the African Timber Organization (ATO) is developing criteria that it hopes will evolve into certification systems. Besides these systems developed specifically for forests, some landowners and processors are adopting the international ISO 14000 series standards for general environmental management.
Designed to promote sustainable use, most certification systems are imperfect indicators of legal use. Some standards require compliance with harvest laws but are silent about processing or trade laws. Some, such as the ISO 14000 system, are process-based. They require subscribers to be aware of the laws, and to track efforts to remedy violations, but actual compliance is not a requirement as long as you are working towards it. Even with a system that demands compliance, some kinds of illegality, such as paying bribes or evading taxes, are difficult for certifiers to detect.
Some systems focus on forest management and lack downstream product labelling and chain-of-custody verification. By some estimates, 20 percent of the world's forests are now certified, but only a tiny fraction of the world's forest-based consumer products bear certification marks. So, not all certification systems help downstream consumers make informed market choices.
Nevertheless, through certification retailers and consumers are beginning to influence forest management. Some major retailers of wood-based products are encouraging their suppliers to adopt independent certification or environmentally equivalent practices. Among them are the Sweden-based home furnishings retailer IKEA, the US-based building supplies retailer Home Depot, and the US-based office supplies retailer Staples. The tremendous market power of these large buyers is making certification more attractive to many producers.
Another category of large buyers is government. At least one country, the United Kingdom, is aiming to reform its procurement programs to avoid spending government funds for goods made with tainted forest products.
Bilateral agreements: Indonesia has been particularly intent on seeking bilateral agreements on illegal logging. The agreement between Indonesia and Malaysia to close their border to log exports was noted above. Indonesia has also negotiated a general Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Kingdom on illegal logging in April 2002, signed a letter of intent to cooperate with Norway in August 2002, and signed an MOU with China in December 2002. It is discussing further agreements with Japan, France, and other countries.
Multi-party international efforts: Multi-party international efforts to address illegal logging include the following:
• The G-8 adopted an Action Programme on Forests in 1998 that identified five priority areas for action, including illegal logging. Several G-8 members trace their increased activity to combat illegal logging to this event. Forests are expected to be on the agenda again when the G-8 meets in June 2003 in Evian, France.
• With the support of the United States and the United Kingdom, and the backing of the World Bank and others, Indonesia hosted the East Asia Ministerial Conference on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) in 2001. The FLEG Conference produced a ministerial declaration on forest governance, and governmental and stakeholder groups continue to meet to discuss the issue.
• The success of Asian FLEG Conference prompted the international sponsors to seek a similar conference for Africa. At this writing, the ministerial conference is scheduled to take place in Cameroon in April 2003. A regional conference for Latin America is a subject of preliminary discussions among potential participants.
• The European Union is developing an action plan on forest law enforcement, governance, and trade (FLEGT) that may include technical assistance to producer countries, market approaches such as voluntary import licensing, government procurement standards, and efforts to deter corporate financial support of illegal logging enterprises.
• A multi-nation Congo Basin Initiative is addressing forest issues in central Africa, including illegal logging.
• Japan, Indonesia, the Center for International Forest Research (CIFOR) and the Nature Conservancy have launched an Asian Forest Partnership to deal with regional forest issues including illegal logging, It met in November 2002 with representatives of 15 countries.
Donor support and technical assistance: Several major international aid donors and development assistance organizations have committed to fight illegal logging.
• The World Bank's revised forest policy recognizes the need to fight illegal logging (The World Bank Group, 2002). The Bank's Forest Governance Program (see http://lnweb18.
worldbank.org/ESSD/essdext.nsf/14ByDocName/ForestGovernanceProgram) has sponsored the East Asian and African FLEG conferences; commissioned research on best practices, lessons learned, and country-specific problems (including an extensive national study of illegal logging in Albania); and sought creative partnerships with other organizations. In January 2002, the multi-donor assistance project Program on Forests (PROFOR) moved from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to the World Bank, where it will work within the Forest Team of the Bank's Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network. One of PROFOR's three focus areas will be forest governance.
• The International Timber Trade Council issued a decision in November 2001 to increase its efforts in forest law enforcement, and it encouraged members to submit funding requests for relevant projects (Sarre et al. 2002). It devoted a recent issue of its Tropical Forest Update newsletter (Vol. 12, No.1) to illegal logging.
• CIFOR has a program on forest governance, which has been studying illegal logging in Indonesia. CIFOR also is one of the sponsors of the Asian Forest Partnership, noted above.
• FAO has addressed illegal logging as part of its forestry program. The 2001 edition of The State of the World's Forests highlighted illegal logging as a concern (FAO 2001). As mentioned above, FAO convened a panel of experts on the topic in January 2002. It put illegal logging on the agenda of the Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission meeting in October 2002. It has given support to multi-party efforts such as the African FLEG conference and it has given technical assistance to individual members on forest policy and law reform.
• Individual donor nations have financed various efforts to build capacity and increase cooperation to fight illegal logging. Already noted above have been the United States and United Kingdom support of the FLEGs. The United Kingdom has supported creation of an illegal logging information website, www.illegal-logging.info. At the November 2002 meeting of the European Tropical Forest Advisers Group, representatives of aid agencies from France, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Germany included forest governance or illegal logging among the issues attracting their attention (GTZ 2002).
Efforts by industry: Producer groups have rallied to condemn illegal logging. Among those issuing statements on the topic have been the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), the Japanese Federation of Wood Industry Associations, and the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations. The AF&PA has amended its SFI certification standards to require compliance with local laws. The Malaysian Timber Council maintains a page on illegal logging on its website.
The World Bank's CEO's Forum on Forests, coordinated by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, has discussed illegal logging. One of its subcommittees has produced a draft code of conduct for forest companies in tropical Africa. Voluntary measures such as codes of conduct and pledges not to engage in bribery have shown promise in other contexts.
As discussed above under certification, major retailers are discouraging illegal practices by promoting demand for certified wood. Large forest and paper firms are enabling this trend by embracing third-party certification, ensuring that the market can fill this demand.
Crosscutting actions: Some of the most promising new efforts are alliances that link traditional antagonists, some of which have already been mentioned. The Forest Leadership Forum brought together environmental and industry groups to find common ground on certification, sustainable development, and suppressing illegal forest use, despite ongoing disagreements over the quality of their various certification programs. The Forest Integrity Network links activists, academics, government officials, and businesspersons. The FLEG programs have brought governments and activists together in a non-adversarial setting.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the WWF have launched an alliance of businesses, governments, and environmental groups to combat illegal logging in Indonesia. The project aims to increase demand for certified wood products in key markets, increase the supply of certified wood products from Indonesia and reduce the availability of financing for companies involved in illegal logging. The majority of the funding for the alliance will come from businesses and business associations. The major governmental donor is US AID (Forest Integrity Network 2002).
In Cambodia, since 1999, the Forest Crime Monitoring Project has sought to use independent monitoring to help the government fight forest crime. Funders and participants have included the Government of Cambodia, FAO, the World Bank, UNDP, and the donor agencies of, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Australia. Global Witness has served as independent monitor. Recently, the government has complained that Global Witness has defamed the government's efforts at law enforcement. Indeed, when Global Witness has found shortcomings in forest governance, it has communicated its concerns widely, not just to the government. However, diplomatic observers have suggested to the press that the concerns are valid and that high-level government corruption is involved. Whatever the case, the government has insisted on replacing Global Witness as independent monitor, even in the face of possible loss of donor assistance (Sipress 2003). Recently one of the government's political opponents, a member of the royal family, has publicly criticized the government about corruption generally and illegal logging in particular (Boustany 2003). Many see the Cambodian project as a possible model for third-party verification of enforcement efforts in other countries. Observers will continue to follow developments in Cambodia with interest.
From time to time, despite long-standing conflicts over forest use, abstract concepts emerge as centres of consensus. `Sustainability', long in the forester's vocabulary, rose to prominence as a consensus point in the 1990s. `Legality', long a concern of government foresters and enforcement officials, is now enjoying its day. People will continue to debate the details of what is sustainable, just as they will debate which illegal acts are most important to suppress. But in both cases, the agreements are more important than the disagreements.
The list of people engaged in the fight against illegal logging is impressive in its diversity: environmental activists, social activists, forest-dwelling community leaders, private landowners, forest products business operators, retailers, consumers, government foresters, police officers, prosecutors, judges, cabinet ministers, and heads of state. Their hopes for the forest are equally diverse. However, all see a critical role for forest governance. Too much illegal and unsustainable activity is happening. Without effective forest governance, lawless use will continue to destroy forests.
Illegal logging problems will not yield quickly to solutions. Crime is a chronic problem in every society. Powerful forces drive illegal logging, including poverty, greed, and political instability. These will be with us for many years to come. But the attention that the world is paying to the problem is reason for optimism. Cooperation is triumphing over old antagonisms. Progress will surely follow.
Appendix I: Activities that may fall under the term `illegal logging'
The following is a list of some of the illegal actions that may be included as part of illegal logging. The basic list is adapted from Calister (1999), Contreras-Hermosilla (2002), and Brack and Hayman (2001).
Harvest and transport
Theft of trees
Theft of trees is what people often first think of when they hear the term `illegal logging'. Theft involves cutting trees knowing that they do not belong to you and that you do not have permission to cut them. However, there are many kinds of timber theft, differing in scope and motivation. For example, there is:
• The local farmer or villager who occasionally steals a tree for personal use as firewood or timber;
• The hit-and-run timber rustler, who makes a living stealing trees of high value such as sandalwood or red-cedar;
• The large-scale thief, who boldly runs an industrial harvest operation on land where he has no rights;
• The timber launderer, who runs a lawful operation on his own land but also cuts on nearby lands and claims that the timber came from his own land;
• The unscrupulous concession holder, who cuts more than the concession allows or cuts before or after the concession is valid.
Unlawful use of other forest resources
A few people use the term illegal logging to refer to any illegal forest resource use, including:
• illegal hunting;
• theft of orchids, bulbs, and other rare plants;
• theft of mushrooms, medicinal herbs, or other secondary forest products;
• illegal occupation of forestland, for residences and farms, or for more sinister purposes such as drug production or waste disposal.
Destruction of forest property
Actions in this category do not directly result in wood leaving the forest, so not everyone would consider them to be `illegal logging'. However, they do all interfere with forest management, and some can be part of a larger scheme that includes illegal removal of timber. These actions include:
• Arson - people may set fire to the forest out of mischief, or with intent to improve the land's value for hunting or grazing, or to create an excuse for salvaging the trees.
• Destruction of fences or survey markers, sometimes done to make it more difficult to prevent, detect, or suppress forest theft.
• Girdling or other killing of standing trees, either out of mischief or to justify future salvage harvests.
Wrongly obtained permission to harvest
A person may appear to have a right to cut wood, either through land ownership or a concession, but actually the person obtained that right illegally, with bad intent. Under many legal frameworks, the courts would consider this crime to be something other than theft. These kinds of illegal activities would include:
• corruption (corruption in its various forms is covered more fully below);
• extortion (the person used threats against the owner);
• fraud (to get permission, the person lied about qualifications, circumstances or past actions).
This category involves cases where the harvester honestly believes that he has permission to cut, but he does not. In some cases, cutting trees under this circumstance is not a crime (punishable under the criminal justice system, with fines and imprisonment possible) but is still unlawful (subject to lawsuits for damages or injunctions). Harvesters in this category include:
• The indigenous forest dweller who cuts trees in a traditional manner, unaware that new laws have extinguished traditional rights. Some civil society groups consider this a problem of bad laws, not bad actions;
• The accidental trespasser, who is mistaken about the location of the property boundary;
• The person who thinks he has permission, but the permission is invalid because:
The permission came from the government, and the government failed to follow its own standards and procedures for granting concessions. An environmental activist might consider this illegal logging while a forest products company might consider it no more than an unfortunate circumstance.
The person got cheated; the `landowner' deliberately lied about owning the land or being able to grant permission.
The agent who tried to grant permission (a government clerk, a corporate official, an estate agent) was mistaken about his authority.
When a landowner grants permission to log trees, usually permission comes as part of an agreement or contract. The logger has some obligations in return. If the logger does not keep the bargain, the law may enforce the agreement. Most people concerned about illegal logging focus on criminal behaviour, not contractual disputes. However, honest business depends on contracts being enforced. Also, breaches of contract can incidentally lead to environmental and other problems. Acts of concern include:
• Where the logger deceives the owner about volume, grade, species, or other relevant facts, cutting more or paying less than he should. (This may be criminal fraud as well as breach of contract. See Sales below);
• Where there is no question about how much is owed, but the logger simply fails to pay what he owes, when he owes it;
• Where the logger does not perform work he promised to do along with or after harvest, such as planning, inventory, road construction, site improvement, or replanting.
Broken harvest rules
The law may set rules governing harvest. Some of these are substantive rules to protect the forest resource, some have more to do with raising revenue or protecting social welfare, and some are procedural rules used to apply the substantive rules. Violation of any of these rules is illegal. However, people will disagree about whether all these violations in this category should be considered illegal logging, particularly the violations of commercial or procedural rules. The larger set of violations in this category includes:
• Ignoring procedural resource protection laws that require pre-harvest notice, operational plans, permits, or tree marking;
• Ignoring substantive resource protection laws, such as those:
requiring harvest to follow approved plans, permits, or markings;
prohibiting harvest of endangered species;
prohibiting harvest in sensitive areas (e.g. steep slopes, riparian buffers, reserved lands, protected areas);
prohibiting harvest of very large or very small trees;
restricting clear-felling or excessive harvest;
requiring protection for water quality, wildlife, or scenery;
setting standards for road construction.
• Ignoring laws requiring the logger or landowner to report volumes or pay tax on harvests;
• Ignoring business or industrial regulations, such as:
labour laws (including minimum wage and child labour laws);
training or licensing requirements for foresters, equipment operators, etc.;
equipment laws (including registration requirements and bans or limits on use of certain equipment in the forest);
business registration and licensing laws.
Broken management rules
The law may also set rules governing forest management that apply well before harvest. To some people, any trees coming off illegally managed lands should be considered `illegal'. These management violations include:
• Ignoring substantive resource protection laws, such as those concerning:
regeneration after harvest;
fire, insect, and disease control;
safe pesticide use;
• Ignoring procedural requirements, such as those calling for preparing and following long-term management plans;
• Ignoring labour, safety, business, or tax laws.
Illegal local transportation
Most people consider `illegal logging' to include illegal activities that happen well after harvest. Illegal harvest can trigger a series of subsequent illegal acts such as illegal transport, processing, and export, but even legally harvested wood can follow illegal paths. Some people, such as landowners and environmental groups, are concerned primarily with violations that happen on the forest, but they believe that failure to control subsequent violations only encourages problems on the land. Some people, such as government finance officials, see violations off the forest as independent and equal concerns.
The first opportunity to break the law after harvest often comes with the transport of the logs. Governments often regulate log transport because it is easier to catch timber thieves on the road than to catch them in the forest. Transport violations may be closely linked to illegal harvest or they may be independent. Typical violations include:
• breaking laws controlling transport across district boundaries;
• breaking laws limiting the time and manner of log transport;
• failing to have the wood properly marked;
• failing to have the proper permits, or ignoring conditions in the permits;
• breaking transport contracts (failure to deliver as promised, failure to pay for transport services, etc.)
• theft from or hijacking of transport vehicles;
• breaking non-forest-related transportation laws, such as driver qualification or vehicle safety laws.
Sales and processing
From forest to ultimate consumer, harvested wood may be sold or processed many times. At a basic level, if the wood is originally stolen, the law may regard subsequent sales to be illegal (see Associated Crimes below). However, processing and sales can raise other legal issues.
A seller commits fraud by intentionally misrepresenting a material fact, to the injury of the buyer. In wood or wood product sales, this can involve deception about characteristics of the goods sold, such as the:
• certification status
• place of origin
Regulatory control of sales
The law may regulate the sale of wood products. Some jurisdictions do not regulate sales at all, while others regulate sales tightly. Possible violations of sales laws include:
• sales of banned items (e.g. protected species);
• sales beyond minimum or maximum prices set by law;
• sales outside of authorized markets;
• sales by unlicensed buyers or sellers;
• failure to report sales to the government;
• failure to pay sales taxes (see Taxes below).
Regulatory control of processing
As an industrial activity, processing offers another venue for regulation. Some of the regulatory issues directly parallel those in sales, such as:
• processing of banned items;
• processing without proper licenses;
• failure to report industrial activity or to pay taxes.
Other regulatory issues parallel those in harvest settings, such as:
• violating environmental protection (pollution control) laws;
• violating labour laws;
• violating worker safety, training, or licensing laws.
An otherwise innocent-looking transaction can be part of a scheme to evade future responsibilities or to cover up past crimes. Whether these transactions are illegal depends on local law.
• Transfer pricing: A sale takes place between related entities at an artificial price. The object is to avoid taxes, avoid currency movement restrictions, shift profits, or move assets beyond the reach of creditors or regulators.
• Laundering: The sale or processing is designed to hide the true origin of the goods or to make the profits from an illegal enterprise appear to come from a legal enterprise.
Import and export
Here are some typical illegal acts associated with import and export:
• moving goods clandestinely, outside of customs controls entirely;
• misrepresenting species, volumes, or other relevant facts to officials to evade trade restrictions;
• false declarations or misrepresentations to evade fees, duties, and tariffs;
• moving wood in violation of bans or controls over trade in particular species (e.g. CITES requirements);
• evading phytosanitary controls.
When crime becomes organized, prosecutors look to reach beyond the initial criminals to the entire organization. In those circumstances, a group of linked or associated crimes become of interest. These include:
• being an accessory to a crime (aiding or abetting the perpetrator, before, during or after the crime);
• being part of criminal conspiracy or an organized criminal enterprise;
• receiving stolen property.
At several points along the chain of commerce from forest to consumer, the government may levy fees or taxes. The long list of fees that people may seek to evade includes:
• stumpage for government timber;
• yield or harvest taxes;
• fees for government services, such as fire surveillance or marking of trees;
• fees for licenses;
• taxes on sales or processing;
• taxes, duties, tariffs, and fees associated with export or import.
Bribery and extortion
At any point where a person seeks government action or inaction, the door is open for bribery, or more rarely, extortion. Bribery involves granting a personal benefit to a government official to secure a desired result; extortion involves a threat of force to a government official if the desired result is not achieved. To a prosecutor, bribery can involve several offences. Offering a bribe and paying a bribe are offences by private persons. Asking for a bribe and accepting the bribe are offences by government officials, mentioned below under Governmental Abuse of Authority. Motives for bribery by private citizens include:
• securing concessions and contracts;
• getting approval of applications or plans;
• avoiding delays in government action;
• avoiding enforcement.
Governmental abuse of authority
Corruption involves use of a public position for personal enrichment. Its forms include:
• soliciting or accepting bribes or kickbacks;
• diverting government income to personal use;
• awarding benefits through cronyism or nepotism.
Exceeding powers or ignoring duties
Government officials can abuse their authority without receiving direct personal gain. For example, they might:
• Take actions beyond their authority, such as authorizing harvests in violation of sustainability requirements in law;
• Fail to do public forest management tasks required by law, including planning and monitoring;
• Fail to follow public participation or transparency requirements in the law;
• Fail in other procedural requirements, such as those requiring public notice and opportunity to bid on concessions.
Akella, A.S. et al. Forthcoming. Enforcement economics and the fight against forest crime: lessons learned from the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. Journal of Sustainable Forestry.
Boustany, Nora. 2003. A royal critic of `democracy' in Cambodia. In The Washington Post, Friday, 7 March 2003, p. A28.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2002. The timber mafia. First broadcast on July 29 on "Four Corners" (available at http://abc.net.au/4corners/content/2002/timber_mafia/).
Brack, Duncan & Hayman, Gavin. 2001. Intergovernmental actions on illegal logging: options for intergovernmental action to help combat illegal logging and illegal trade in timber and forest products. (available at http://www.riia.org/pdf/research/sdp/Intergovernmental%20Actions%20on%20Illegal%20
Bureau for Outreach Campaigns et al. 2001. The wild east: trees in transit. The timber trade between Siberia, the Russian Far East and China. (available at http://www.forestsmonitor.org/reports/russia/the_
Callister, Debra J. 1999. Corrupt and illegal activities in the forestry sector: Current understandings and implications for World Bank Forest Policy (draft for discussion, prepared for the World Bank Group, Forest Policy Implementation Review and Strategy Development: Analytical Studies).
Contreras-Hermosilla, Arnoldo. 2002. Policy Alternatives to Improve Law Compliance in the Forest Sector (background paper prepared for FAO meeting of experts, Rome, January 2002).
Dudley, R.G. forthcoming. A system dynamics examination of the willingness of villagers to engage in illegal logging. Journal of Sustainable Forestry.
Environmental Investigation Agency & Telapak. 2001. Timber Trafficking: Illegal Logging in Indonesia, South East Asia, and International Consumption of Illegally Sourced Timber (available at http://www.salvonet.com/eia/old-reports/Forests/Reports/timber/timber.pdf).
Environmental Investigation Agency & Telapak. 2003. Above the Law: Corruption, Collusion, Nepotism and the Fate of Indonesia's Forests (available at http://www.salvonet.com/eia/cgi/reports/
FAO. 2001. The State of the World's Forests 2001. (FAO, Rome) (available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/
Forest Integrity Network. 2002. India: Community-Based Actions. Forest Integrity Network Newsletter, Issue 4, p.2.
Forest Monitor & Greenpeace. 2002. Wijma: Logging illegally in Cameroon's rainforest (available at http://www.forestsmonitor.org/reports/field/UFA09007report.pdf).
GTZ. 2002. Minutes of the 12th Meeting of the European Tropical Forest Advisers Group (ETFAG) (available at http://www.gtz.de/forest-policy/download/Documents/IWRP-Services_Documents/
Kishor, Nalin. Forthcoming. Does improved governance contribute to sustainable forest management? Journal of Sustainable Forestry.
Sarre, Alastair et al. 2002. Forest Crime: The Mist Clears. Tropical Forest Update, Vol. 12, No. 1 (available at http://www.itto.or.jp/newsletter/v12n1/index.html ).
Sipress, Alan. 2003. Illegal Logging Rife in Cambodia: Watchdog Group Says Companies Linked to Top Government Officials. The Washington Post. Sunday, 16 February 2003, p. A28.
The Word Bank Group. 2002. A Revised Forest Strategy for the World Bank Group (available at http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/ESSD/essdext.nsf/14DocByUnid/403A34FDD7B9E84A85256BD00077D91B/$FILE/FSSPFinal1Nov02.pdf).