China is Largest Importer Of Illegally Harvested Timber, Report Says

China has become the world’s leading importer of illegally harvested timber, even as the growing economic giant has made strides in protecting its own forests, according to a new report. Drawing on its own investigative research and the work of Interpol, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) estimates that China now imports about $4 billion in illegal timber annually to meet rising demand for construction materials and furniture. According to the report, more than half of China’s raw timber imports are now coming from nations with “a high risk of illegal logging and poor forest governance,” including Cambodia, Laos, and Madagascar. Meanwhile, the report said, the Chinese government has taken critical steps in preserving and re-growing its own forests. “China is now effectively exporting deforestation around the world,” said EIA’s Faith Doherty.