A prestigious global network of forest scientists has confirmed the scale and importance of illegal conversion of forests for large-scale agriculture. In a major new report released on 3rd December on the subject of illegal logging, the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO) highlighted illegal conversion as one of four major ‘trends’ in illegal logging worldwide. The study, which claims to be “the most comprehensive scientific analysis of illegal logging to date” was the work of an international team of more than 40 renowned scientists and was launched at a conference of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
The scientists concluded that current approaches to addressing illegal logging needed to be strengthened to take account of the rise in trade of timber from illegal conversion of forests to agriculture, which it stated may be responsible for almost one-third of all tropical timber traded worldwide. It also noted the scale of the international trade in commodities such as palm oil, soy and beef which originate from illegally cleared forest land. A short summary, links to the summary briefing and full report can all be found on the FLEGT news site. The IUFRO press release regarding the report can be found on the UNEP website.