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President Bush's Initiative Against Illegal Logging
"... I've also ordered the Secretary of State to develop a new initiative to help developing
countries stop illegal logging, a practice that destroys biodiversity and releases millions
of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere."
What is Illegal Logging?
Illegal logging is generally understood to mean timber that is harvested, transported, processed or sold in contravention of a country's laws. Illegal logging destroys forest ecosystems, robs national governments and local communities of needed revenues, undercuts prices of legally harvested forest products on the world market, finances regional conflict and acts as a disincentive to sustainable forest management.
International trade in illegally harvested timber and timber traded in violation of Parties' obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) exacerbates the problem. Illegal logging is also a primary factor in the escalating African bush meat crisis, opening up vast areas to illicit hunting to feed loggers and for commercial sale in urban centers.
Underlying causes of illegal logging and related corruption are rooted in a lack of strong institutions based on democratic principles: rule of law, participatory and transparent decision-making, public accountability, clear land tenure and property rights and due process for dispute settlement.
The World Bank estimates that illegal logging results in annual
losses in developing countries of $10-15 billion worldwide.
The United States has been a leader in raising international awareness of the devastating global problem of illegal logging and identifying actions to address it, notably through the G-8, regional initiatives such as the South Asia and Africa Ministerial Conferences on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance, and bilateral development assistance activities. Developed at the direction of President Bush, this Initiative builds on those efforts.
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