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Countries and Regions

By focusing on field evidence and legal frameworks in deforestation and forest degradation hot spots around the globe, the EIA works to shut down networks that trade in illicit wood products and agricultural commodities driving large-scale deforestation.

Countries and Regions

Illegal logging causes irreparable harm to the environment and communities around the world. Operations are often enabled through human rights abuses, including violence against impoverished local communities, forced labor in logging camps, and the polluting of precious water supplies. A 2012 World Bank study underscores that "an area of forest the size of a football field is clear-cut by illegal loggers around the globe” every two seconds, destroying biodiversity. Further, it ”estimates that illegal logging in some countries accounts for as much as 90 percent of all logging and generates approximately US$10 - 15 billion annually in criminal proceeds.” EIA investigates, documents, and exposes illegal logging and associated trade around the world. We then use that information to hold consuming countries to account for their role in driving the illegal timber trade and support governance reform efforts in forest producer countries.

Based on evidence from the ground, carefully collected through a combination of local sources and international trade research, EIA develops country-specific strategies to disseminate and deploy results from investigations in ways that drive policy change to stop illegality and corruption and establish the oversight and transparency necessary to enable the transformation of supply chains. We focus on countries whose forests are important to global climate mitigation, as well as key processing and consuming markets worldwide.

Support for Local Advocacy and Capacity Building

Raising the capacity of civil society to monitor and advocate on natural resource use in forested countries is a key part of EIA’s work to promote good forest governance. Civil society on the ground and forest dependent communities has an opportunity to leverage changes in commodity markets, such as new prohibitions on illegal timber in the U.S., Europe, and Australia, to improve their participation in local forest governance. New market and supply chain requirements for due diligence empower local communities to contribute information about sourcing practices and violations in the forest. Coordinated campaigns with in-country activists have illustrated how forest-dependent communities can play a leading role in improving their access to markets, improving transparency, fighting corruption, and fostering poverty-alleviating development.

See more on EIA’s Community Forest Monitoring work, here.

Impacts and Results

  • Spurred international attention and action on the Peruvian forest sector’s rampant illegality in The Laundering Machine (2012) and supported participation of indigenous and local partners in advocacy around revised forestry laws and regulations.

  • Exposed for first time pervasive corruption and illegality in Honduran forests by working with local partners, generating new political will for reform of the country’s forest law.

  • Helped establish measures against the massive flows of illegally-logged rosewood and ebony out of Madagascar by bringing international spotlight to surging rosewood demand.

  • Monitored implementation of unprecedented Forest Governance Annex to reform the Peruvian forest sector in the bilateral Peru Trade Promotion Agreement with the United States.

  • Increased attention to the issue of illegal logging and associated trade by China’s government, acknowledging that China plays a role in the international illegal timber trade and is participating in the international dialogue to address illegal timber imports.

  • Supported allies in local civil society, shared experiences, and advanced policy reform in Australia and Japan.

  • Revealed critical loopholes in EUTR regarding timber sourcing within Europe by illustrating the role of EU demand in fueling illegal logging in Romania’s forests.

  • Brought systematic evidence of illegal logging to the Romanian and international public, stimulating political changes to address illegal logging and corruption among the Romanian government and powerful companies.

  • In-depth investigative reporting on the illegal timber trade in Russia’s “wild east” led to the central government newly focused on stopping illegal logging and related organized crime in remote eastern Russia, evidenced by a new roundwood law instituting stronger controls on tracking timber along supply chains.

  • Following the profile of Russian oak (Quercus mongolica) and Manchurian ash (Fraxinus mandshurica) in EIA’s report Liquidating the Forests, Russia led an effort to list these species on CITES Appendix III to combat illegal international trade in these species.

Objectives

  • Uncover the illegal timber trade and expansion of agricultural commodities devastating the forests of the Congo Basin, West Africa, and Madagascar
  • Reveal the scale of illegal logging and corruption in Russia and Romania, and build momentum for improved enforcement and forest sector reform
  • Curb illegal logging, and stop deforestation caused by the production of commodities such as palm oil across Peru, Colombia, and Honduras
  • Expose evidence of illegal timber supply chains in China and Japan, and promote solutions

Recent Blog Posts

Diana's Song: Musicians join indigenous defenders in Peru's threatened Amazon
01/19/2018
It’s not every day that the average person finds herself sitting on a stage in Lima, singing an unknown song in a native Amazonian language to half a million viewers on Facebook Live, with back-up vocals by KT Tunstall and musical accompaniment by Maroon 5’s guitarist, Dave Matthews Band’s bassist, and the lead singers of Guster and Kanaku & El Tigre. But Diana Rios is not your average person, and this was not your average day.
Fighting Forest Crime: CITES takes action against illegal rosewood trade
12/08/2017
At its 69th meeting, the Standing Committee (SC69) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) took important steps to curb the destructive illegal trade in rosewoods from Africa.

Recent Reports

Destino China: resumen complementario al informe Momento de la Verdad
02/14/2018
El reciente informe de EIA, El Momento de la Verdad mostró que la ilegalidad y el fraude son generalizados en todo el sector maderero peruano, y que una gran parte de la madera talada ilegalmente se exporta a decenas de países. En “Destino China: resumen complementario al informe Momento de la Verdad”, EIA parte de los mismos datos y análisis para destacar el mayor mercado de destino para las exportaciones de madera ilegal de Perú: China.
Moment of Truth: Promise or Peril for the Amazon as Peru Confronts its Illegal Timber Trade
02/07/2018
EIA’s new report describes important advances since 2012 in Peru’s fight against illegal logging, timber laundering, and its associated international trade – as well as the backlash against these new approaches.

Recent Press Releases

Peru's Fight Against Illegal Timber Trade at Risk as Authorities Weaken Rules and Regulations
02/07/2018
Peruvian forest authorities are weakening the tools and inspections necessary to prevent illegal timber trade, in the face of overwhelming evidence that Peru’s exports to the United States, China, Mexico and 15 other countries contained high percentages of illegal or high-risk wood. Moment of Truth, a new report from the non-profit Environmental Investigation Agency, demonstrates the extent of this illegal trade and the backlash against attempts to fight it.
Retrocesos en Regulaciones e Inspecciones Debilitan La Lucha Del Perú Contra el Comercio de Madera Ilegal
02/07/2018
Las autoridades forestales peruanas están debilitando las herramientas e inspecciones necesarias para prevenir el comercio de madera ilegal, ante una abrumadora evidencia de que las exportaciones del Perú a Estados Unidos, China, México y otros 15 países incluyeron altos porcentajes de madera ilegal o de alto riesgo. El Momento de la Verdad, un nuevo informe de investigación de la ONG internacional Agencia de Investigación Ambiental (EIA – Environmental Investigation Agency), demuestra los alcances de este tráfico ilegal y las reacciones en contra de las acciones para combatirlo.

Recent Videos

The 'S' Files
02/16/2017
EIA's series of videos exposing Holzindustrie Schweighofer's involvement in illegal logging in Romania,
The 'S' Files, Case #3: Depot Deception
12/21/2016
The latest in EIA's video series, The 'S' Files, Depot Deception shows that Holzindustrie Schweighofer, one of the largest timber companies in Europe, appears to be systematically...
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!
How the U.S. Lacey Act Protects the Planet
The precedent-setting U.S. Lacey Act supports honest industry and protects the planet.
Lumber Liquidators pleads guilty to smuggling timber
Musicians and the Illegal Timber Trade
Holzindustrie Schweighofer & Illegal Timber
Lumber Liquidators in the Russian Far East