Illegal Logging is Rampant

Before we go any further into this very complicated subject. You need to understand what Illegal Logging is and why people are forced into it.

What is Illegal, Unlicensed Logging?

Illegal logging is not only the felling of trees without a license. By definition, it is the handling of wood in any shape and form that was obtained illegally. This includes the harvesting,  processing, carrying, purchasing, or selling of lumber in breach of Local, State, Country, and Global laws. The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines deforestation as the “permanent removal of standing forests.”

Why Do People Illegally Log?

Money of course is the number one reason. Our most precious forests are located in poorer countries. With little work available, local inhabitants find it hard to put wholesome food on their tables. With this pressure, the temptation to fell trees is irresistible. These activities are not undertaken as part of an intentional criminal career, it is more of a necessity. Just put yourself in their position, would you let your family starve, or would you cut one of many trees located just outside your home?  Local crafts are also a big offender. Rural families earn their money by crafting items from illegally logged trees and then selling them to tourists. Once again it’s a question of survival.

What are the effects of Illegal logging?

Deforestation of the Amazon Rain Forest

It has a negative and sometimes devastating impact on all forests of the world. We always hear about the damage being caused to the world’s most important forests, and so we should, we all need to be aware of what is happening. What people also need to be aware of and understand is that the smaller infringements, let’s call them misdemeanors, all add up to a giant felony. The impact on the climate with fewer carbon-absorbing trees is contributing to climate change.  There is also a huge impact on all who were living in these forests, animals, and humans alike. The inhabitants relied and depended on the resources that these forests offered.

What are the Impacts?

The ecological impacts of unlawful logging consist of, the loss of biodiversity, and the emission of greenhouse gases. Prohibited logging has actually added to disputes with native and regional populations, violence, human rights abuses, corruption, financing of armed disputes, and the worsening of hardship.

The loss of rainforests has an instantaneous impact on indigenous peoples’ lives. their lifestyle that we in the extremely industrialized parts of the globe, regardless of our very own dependence on what the rainforest provides, will never ever know. Prohibited logging weakens the authenticity of the forest sector and impedes the efforts of federal governments to carry out sustainable forest management. It is tough to evaluate the level of unlawful logging. The World Bank approximates that federal governments worldwide lose between $10 and $15 Billion each year as an outcome of prohibited logging.  This is cash that could be invested in enhancing the lives of their citizens. By purchasing lumber and wood items with no concerns asked, consumer nations in the EU and beyond have unwittingly offered monetary rewards to those forestry criminal offenses and in doing so, have actually weakened efforts to impose the law in a few of the world’s poorest timber-producing nations.

How Can We Solve Illegal Logging?

Just implementing a law that declares all forests must be sustainable simply will not work. Consumer awareness and manufacturing nations have a shared responsibility to not only understand the problem but to face it head-on.  These powerful entities must increase the punishments for offenders, while also implementing practical solutions to replace the incomes of indigenous people.

What is Sustainable Forestry Management?

A sustainable forest can be defined as a forest that has the ability to replenish what is taken. There are a number of ways to implement a sustainable forest. Before we look at these, we need to understand how logging is normally undertaken. The system that is devastating the world’s tree stock is a system called Clear Cutting. Clear cutting is exactly what it says, every tree in a given area is felled. This system leaves no room for recovery.

There are currently three recognized systems of managing sustainability in a forest.
1. Selective felling. This system normally only targets the most valuable trees like Mahogany or Teak, so it’s no wonder that these Trees are the most endangered of all the tree species. This system has been manipulated by Lumber companies who only target the most valuable trees. The system should really work like this. Random trees are felled, not for their value but taken strategically so controlled sunlight can penetrate the canopy to allow new growth.  This system is by far the most natural but offers some problems as to the economic viability of constantly moving machinery around.

2. Ecotourism. This urges sustainable tourism that creates jobs for regional individuals to earn a livable wage. The profits generated are then used to secure and save the exotic rainforest for future generations to vacation in. This system is by far the most popular amongst conservationists because it leaves the forests intact. What is needed for this system to be successful is a reshaping of people’s vacationing habits. The Rain Forests are an amazing place to vacation. That message just needs to get out there.
3. Sustainable Construction Forests.  This system requires a large area of common fast-growing softwood trees such as Pine. The idea behind this system is that a logging company is contracted to clear specified sections throughout the year. These cleared areas are then replanted with seedlings. when the seedlings have reached a height of 15ft (4.5m) they are harvested. This system increases the cost of lumber by an estimated 25% but the upside is no natural forests are cleared for our future construction needs. Federal Governments around the world need to license this type of tree farming.

There are some well-founded arguments for Sustainable Forest Management. The more prosperous countries of the world are offering Debt Reduction to poorer countries in return, these Countries will protect their rain forests. This is all well and good but as history has shown, just throwing money at a problem rarely solves it.