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Forest law enforcement is one of the most debated issues in the international forestry arena today. Illegal forest production dwarfs legal production in some countries. Illegal land clearance gives rise to severe problems with deforestation and forest fires. And illegal trade tars all forest products from some regions with a negative image. Urgent action is required to stop forest crime. This publication aims to facilitate the shift from discussing such problems towards devising and implementing solutions.

FAO and ITTO have formed a partnership to promote best practices in forest law compliance. Both organizations have long-running programmes to promote sustainable forest management, and both carry out specific activities addressing forest law enforcement to this end. While tropical countries have often been the focus of attention, it is increasingly clear that most countries have problems ensuring compliance with forest laws, although they differ in their capacity to address the challenges. This book is produced to publicize current steps being taken on the national and international levels to deal with forest crime, to help build capacity through the sharing of experiences.

FAO and ITTO are planning a series of regional workshops beginning in 2006 to contribute to strengthening the dialogue among countries, sharing experiences and developing appropriate strategies and measures to improve forest law compliance. These workshops will also be an opportunity to update and improve on the best practices included here, since new developments occur almost daily in this fast-moving field.

Many of the guidelines, best practices and codes of practice promulgated by FAO and ITTO already form the basis for forest legislation and policy in a number of countries. We recommend these Best practices for improving law compliance in the forest sector to all those involved in combating forest crime, and hope that they will be implemented with a similar degree of success.

Hosny El-Lakany
Assistant Director General
Forestry Department

Manoel Sobral Filho
Executive Director
Yokohama, Japan

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