Today, Liberia and the European Union agreed to stop the streaming exports of illegal lumber from Liberia into any European Union member country. This agreement comes a few days after Chatham House’s published report authored by Sam Lawson and Larry MacFaul of the declination in illegal logging in various parts of the world. Liberia’s Agriculture Minister Florence Chenoweth said “all limber shipments” will be processed by a system from the companies felling the wood and to the processing of wood in lumber mills in order to secure Liberia’s economic sector of trade
Since 2000, illegal logging saw a 50-75% drop in particular parts of the world such as the Amazon, Indonesia, Cameroon, Ghana, Malaysia and other countries. The report summarizes that this decrease in illegal logging has saved “up to 17 million hecatres of forest” and prevented “at least 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions” since 2000.
Illegal harvesting of lumber lands tremendous blows onto the host country’s economy, ecology, and its people. The Brazilian rainforests are one example of how illegal logging can displace both animals and indigenous peoples from their natural homes restricting the flow of natural food and construction supplies to these people who consequently end up on the road to extinction. Illegal logging typically occurs in more undeveloped countries fueled by huge demand from more developed countries abroad.
Tens of billions of U.S dollars are lost in potential revenue for governments when illegal timber is imported to other countries. Thousands of individuals in the agriculture industry also tend to lose their jobs as their businesses are rapidly shoved out of the way by more ‘quicker’, yet illegitimate “businesses”, for both exporting and importing countries.
Annual exports of these illegal products to just one country such as the U.S or Australia can climb all the way up to more than 400 million USD. The regions of Siberia have seen its share of illegal logging which has robbed jobs from Manchurian and Mongolian workers diverting the majority of the latter to illegal activities such as non-government sanctioned coal mining.
Lately, governments have taken steps to ensure that the wood they’re importing wasn’t harvested illegally. Although the laws are implemented, the effects remain to be fully observed in the affected countries. Brazilian agencies report that more than 80% of logging is illegal in the Amazon which has raised serious concerns over the future of Earth’s “lungs” as the Amazon rainforests provide 1/3 of the world’s oxygen. Scientists estimate that if the current rate of illegal logging along with deforestation in the Amazon is not stopped, 40% of the Rainforest will be reduced by 2030. Activists has urged action against the criminals and have offered ‘green’ solutions of alternative resources in lumber.