Why do we need a new law?
How is illegal logging harmful?
Illegal logging – the harvesting of wood in a way that breaches the laws or regulations of the country of harvest – has severe economic, environmental and social impacts for some of the world's most valuable remaining forests and the communities that rely on them.
It results in lost revenues and undermines the efforts of legitimate operators.
It is associated with deforestation, climate change and loss of biodiversity.
It is linked to conflicts over land and resources, and the disempowerment of local communities.
Why is it important for the European Union to act?
The EU represents a critical export market for many countries where illegal logging is all too common. If we adopt a ‘no questions asked’ attitude then we unknowingly fund forestry related crimes and hinder efforts to enforce the law in some of the world’s poorest wood-producing countries.
What is the EU doing?
In 2003, the EU developed the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Action Plan which provides a number of measures to exclude illegal timber from markets, improve the supply of legal timber and increase the demand for wood products from legal sources.
The two main elements of the action plan are the EU Timber Regulation, and Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs). VPAs are trade agreements with timber exporting countries that help to prevent illegal timber from being placed on the European market.
Under the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), wood carrying a FLEGT licence, or a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) permit, is considered to comply with the EUTR.
The EUTR is complemented by two other pieces of legislation that offer more detail on specific points within the law: