Causes

Causes

The causes of illegal logging are manifold. Weaknesses in forest governance in producer countries are typically the direct cause. However, consumer countries contribute to these problems by importing timber and timber products without ensuring that they are legally sourced.

Governance problems include weak institutions and limited resources, which results in a lack of law enforcement as well as limited capacity for land use planning. In many countries the legal framework is unclear or contradictory, making it difficult if not impossible to operate legally. In some situations, the law is not accepted, for example, where the government is considered illegitimate or where customary law holds sway and the formal legal system conflicts with this.

Economics also plays a role. Illegal timber is usually cheaper than legal timber, which makes it difficult for legal operators to compete on the market. Legislation in the USA, Europe and Australia, prohibiting the import of illegal timber, aims to change this situation.