Photo credit: CIFOR
Certified timber in a log pond in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Efforts to curb illegal logging may be better-served to focus on large-scale loggers first, research suggests. Michael Padmanaba/CIFOR photo
EU plan to curb illegal logging: Think big by thinking small?
Existing legislation is not ready for small-scale operators, and seeking blanket compliance will outlaw them overnight
BY THOMAS HUBERT
Indonesia—Faced with growing pressure to root out “illegal timber” from international trade, some tropical timber-producing countries have a choice.
On one hand, they can adopt and enforce a legality verification system that instantly covers their entire timber supply chain, from large-scale industrial logging for export markets to small-scale artisanal operators serving the domestic market.
On the other: They can start “small” and ramp up enforcement slowly.
The decision could have wide implications for the short-term success and long-term sustainability of the initiative.
For a decade, the European Union (EU) has been negotiating with tropical timber-producing countries to stem illegal logging. Recent research indicates that they may have to leave small-scale producers aside—temporarily—to bring their joint efforts to fruition.
Formal agreements are now in place to clean up several major trading routes from Africa and Asia to Europe. A recent paper by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) suggests, however, that their gradual implementation could avoid disrupting the livelihoods of many thousands of people in timber-producing countries. This could be done with “the ‘weakest’ parts of the sector, notably current informal operators, being granted a grace period of learning before implementing and fully enforcing any new rules,” the authors write.
Recent developments illustrate why.
Read the full article: CIFOR
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