Nav: Home

Call for global action to stamp out illegal timber trade

November 14, 2016

A group of conservation scientists and policy makers led by University of Adelaide researchers are calling for global action to combat the illegal timber trade.

They say governments and organisations responsible for protecting wildlife and forests around the world and certification schemes need to "catch up with the science" and put in place policies and frameworks to ensure the legality of timber being logged and traded around the world.

Consumers too need to play their part in demanding verification of the origin and legality of the timber items they buy, they say.

Illegal logging is a major cause of forest degradation and loss of biodiversity, and accounts for between an estimated 15-30% of the global trade in timber, worth US$30-100 billion annually.

The scientists have published their recommendations in the journal BioScience - detailing the range of scientific methods available for timber identification and how they can be applied within the timber supply chain. The work is a collaboration between the University of Adelaide, timber-tracking specialists Double Helix Tracking Technologies, the USDA Forest Service, INTERPOL and other research and forestry organisations.

The recommendations stem from work commissioned by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime in support of the UN Resolution 23/1 from May 2014 on "strengthening a targeted crime prevention and criminal justice response to combat illicit trafficking in forest products, including timber".

"We now have the scientific capability to identify and track illegally logged timber through the supply chain through DNA profiling, DNA barcoding and other means," says lead author Professor Andrew Lowe, from the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide. "But now we need the policy and regulatory framework to incorporate scientific verification."

"Illegal logging is a huge problem globally, driven as much by demand from consumer countries (including Australia) as from producer nations," says co-author Dr Eleanor Dormontt, who was employed by the UN to write the recommendations.

"Our paper is the first to bring together the various scientific methodologies available for timber identification and consider how best they can be applied in timber supply chains to promote legality.

"We are all implicit in the exploitation of the world's forests, and even the most conscientious consumer has a reasonably high chance of purchasing or otherwise handling illegal wood products in their lifetime. Scientists, policy makers, NGOs, graders, foresters and the general public all have a part to play.

"The reality is that changes to timber supply chains can be made to improve their transparency, legality and sustainability. We need a coordinated international effort to make it happen."
-end-
Dr Eleanor Dormontt, Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Adelaide. Phone: +61 8 8313 2187, Mobile: +61 (0)407 762 169, eleanor.dormontt@adelaide.edu.au

Professor Andrew Lowe, Chair in Plant Conservafion Biology, Environment Institute, University of Adelaide (Currently overseas in Morocco). Mobile: +61 (0)434 607 705, andrew.lowe@adelaide.edu.au

Robyn Mills, Media Officer. Phone: +61 8 8313 6341, Mobile: +61 (0)410 689 084, robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au

University of Adelaide

Related Research Articles:

More Research News and Research Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.