USA

USA

The United States of America has over 300 million hectares of forest, which cover one third of its land area (FAO, 2015). The country has a significant domestic forestry industry, both for the production and processing of timber, and it is one of the world’s largest importers of timber and wood-based products.

In 2008 the US became the first country to introduce legislation prohibiting the import and sale of illegally-sourced timber, through the amendment of the Lacey Act (US Department of Agriculture). The US has also been working bilaterally with a number of countries to improve cooperation on illegal logging, including China and Peru.

In spite of some implementation and enforcement challenges with the Lacey Act, it has brought some positive results. With a number of high-profile enforcement cases, awareness of the issue of illegal logging has increased amongst industry and behaviour is changing. The impact on levels of illegal imports into the US is less clear: the proportion of imports of illegal wood-based products are estimated to have increased over the period 2000 to 2013, from two to three per cent, although they have been on a slight downward trajectory since 2010 (Chatham House, 2014). An analysis of trade data found some evidence of the impact of the Lacey Act on hardwood imports into the US (Prestemon, 2014).