Experts estimate that up to 30% of global forest products trade is illegal.

Tracking forest products through complex global supply chains currently depends on paper-based audit trails which can be easily manipulated to hide the true origin and species composition of forest products.

The growing pervasiveness of the trade in illegal forest products is fuelling the climate crisis, harming forest-dependent communities, and damaging fragile ecosystems.

Traders in illegal timber also undercut the prices of legitimate forest products and rob governments in many poor countries of much needed revenue. The United Nations Environmental Programme has estimated the annual value of illegal logging to be as high as 152 billion dollars.

Many countries now have laws making it illegal to import illegal wood products, including the United States, European Union, Australia and South Korea. In addition, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)  places restrictions on harvest and trade on many threatened tree species.

However, enforcement is hampered without some way to objectively validate the species and point of harvest of traded forest products. 

The WFID partnership has coordinated closely with law enforcement agencies to develop legally robust collection and verification protocols, tools and reference databases, which can be used by officials around the world to enforce these laws and protect vulnerable forests.

Illegal logging negatively impacts
global wood prices, ecosystems and communities