Ensuring sustainable practices and effective regulation throughout trade supply chains is the focus of our work within timber trade © A. Walmsley / TRAFFIC

sustainable timber trade facilitating strengthened legislation and sustainable harvesting

Ensuring sustainable practices and effective regulation throughout trade supply chains is the focus of our work within timber trade © A. Walmsley / TRAFFIC



working towards sustainable timber trade

Timber is the world’s most valuable wildlife commodity in trade, employing millions of people throughout supply chains across the globe. But if current levels of mismanagement, illegal activity and unsustainable practices continue, some of the world's most precious ecosystems could disappear within a matter of decades.

TRAFFIC is working in numerous African countries to help build the systems needed to ensure national and international regulations are effective and understood. This would allow legal, responsible trade to benefit local communities and does not threaten natural biodiversity. We simultaneously work in destination countries for timber, such as in Europe and Asia, to help enforcement agencies detect when threatened timber species are being traded.

US$10 billion

is lost from the global market each year from illegal logging according to the World Bank

Chen Hin Keong, TRAFFIC's Timber trade Programme Leader

Timber trade regulation is a complex issue. But ensuring that those involved understand their sustainability obligations is the only way we can ensure the survival of our rainforests

Chen Hin Keong, TRAFFIC's Timber trade Programme Leader

the issues behind timber trade

Rainforests across Africa, Asia and South America support an abundance of wildlife.

In many countries, timber trade is an essential source of income, integral to supporting the national economy and providing a livelihood to local communities. But illegal logging is a devastating issue in Africa and the Americas, as a "gold rush" to meet demand for tropical timber has led many to fell trees indiscriminately and outside the law. The issue is compounded by corruption, resource mismanagement and ineffective regulation, making it all to easy for criminals to illegally harvest and trade in threatened timber.

our overall approaches

training enforcement

identifying processed timber species throughout supply chains can be challenging, so we're providing border officers with training tools

international policy

we recommend on and support adherence to international trade regulations, such as CITES, to help protect threatened species

legality frameworks

we work to ensure that national regulations are understood by companies throughout timber supply chains

national legality frameworks

Whether knowingly or unknowingly, a huge proportion of the global trade in timber breaks national or international law.

If we can't strengthen enforcement against illegal loggers and ensure that the private sector understands what they can or can't do, the future biodiversity of the world's forests looks bleak. National Legality Frameworks help companies understand how to conduct timber trade within the law. This is an example of a briefing document we circulate to timber companies within Cameroon.

legality training manual

projects working towards sustainable timber trade

China's Champions of Change

China's Champions of Change is an EU-funded behaviour change project in China which concentrates on reducing the consumption of pangolin products and tropical timber.

China is a major consumer market for wildlife products. Pangolins are prized throughout wide consumer demographics for their perceived social, medicinal and social benefits, and tropical timbers such as rosewoods Dalbergia spp. are widely used in furniture and ornamental items.

more about champions of change

Supporting enforcement in combating illegal timber

A lack of capacity and, in some cases, expertise is hampering efforts to correctly identify illegally sourced or restricted timber throughout global supply chains.

We're working with Customs and enforcement officers in source and destinations countries to equip them with the training, tools, and resources necessary for them to detect illegal timber and take the appropriate measures. This includes developing national legality framework training manuals and running workshops with enforcement officers.

The view over Mount Cameroon © A. Walmsley / TRAFFIC


Forest governance, markets and climate

Cameroon is a country of concern in terms of illegal logging and unsustainable timber trade, posing significant threats to natural biodiversity and harming national economies.

We're taking lessons learnt from work in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa and applying them to develop strengthened national regulation, enforcement capacity, and private sector awareness to aid the transition towards sustainable timber trade from Cameroon.

A Customs officer inspects a lorryload of logs due for export in Douala, Cameroon © A. Walmsley / TRAFFIC


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