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29 Nov 2012: 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

China’s Appetite for Wood
Takes a Heavy Toll on Forests

China’s Appetite for Wood Takes a Heavy Toll on Forests
More than half of the timber now shipped globally is destined for China. But unscrupulous Chinese companies, William Laurance writes, are importing huge amounts of illegally harvested wood.
READ THE e360 REPORT
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 Faith Doherty, head of EIA’s forest campaign. Other major timber consumers, including the U.S., the European Union, and Australia, have taken critical legislative steps to exclude illegal timber, while producing countries, such as Indonesia, have improved enforcement against illegal logging, the report said. The global market for illegal timber is worth about $30 billion.

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