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Illegal logging in the Philippines

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Illegal logging in the Philippines

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Illegal logging (WP) is the harvest, transportation, purchase or sale of timber in violation of national laws. The harvesting procedure itself may be illegal, including using corrupt means to gain access to forests; extraction without permission or from a protected area; the cutting of protected species; or the extraction of timber in excess of agreed limits.

Illegalities occur right through the chain from source to consumer, the harvesting procedure itself may be illegal, including corrupt means to gain access to forests, extraction without permission or from a protected area, cutting of protected species or extraction of timber in excess of agreed limits. Illegalities may also occur during transport, including illegal processing and export as well as non-declaration to customs, before the timber enters the legal market. We can separate illegal logging]] in three main situations. First in line are activities with pure criminal nature. This includes logging without official permissions, timber theft, falsification of documents, usage of violence against local inhabitants, gross law violation by authorities and corruption. Next are mass illegal activities in forest by poor people, looking for satisfaction of their basic needs - food and fuel. Some of these practices are forest infringement, forest conversion for agricultural usage and illegal trafficking. Last are activities due to lack of law enforcement.

The consequences can be devastating: illegal and unsustainable legal logging contributes to deforestation (directly and by opening forests up to other destructive activities), destroying the world's greatest reservoirs of biodiversity, and hastening climate change. It is directly implicated in "natural" disasters such as landslides (e.g., the recent devastating landslides in the Philippines) and flooding. Floods and landslides have been widely blamed on illegal logging.

Illegal logging is a pervasive problem throughout the world and unlawful cutting of trees has devastating impact on the world’s forest. Its effects includes declination of forest resources which causes loss of biodiversity, instability and massive erosion of upland soil, serious damage to our river and underground freshwater ecosystem, flood and fueling climate change. In the Philippines, decades of illegal logging contributed to the devastating wrought by storms. With thousands of innocent people lost their lives due to floods and landslides, as well as all other ecological disasters through the years, blame has fallen on illegal loggers who have stripped hillsides bare and turned green forests into death traps. Illegal logging is a major factor in flood devastation of Philippines.

Furthermore, illegal logging contributes to deforestation and by extension global warming, causes loss of biodiversity and undermines the rule of law. These illegal activities undermine responsible forest management, encourage corruption and tax evasion and reduce the income of the producer countries, further limiting the resources producer countries can invest in sustainable development. Illegal logging has serious economic and social implications for the poor and disadvantaged. Furthermore, the illegal trade of forest resources undermines international security, and is frequently associated with corruption, money laundering, organized crime, human rights abuses and, in some cases, violent conflict. In the forestry sector, cheap imports of illegal timber and forest products, together with the non-compliance of some economic players with basic social and environmental standards, destabilize international markets.


Environmental Investigation Agency.

  • Sheikh, Pervaze A. (2008). CRS Report for Congress. Illegal Logging: Background and Issues. Retrieved

February 8, 2011, from