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Illegal logging is a major problem in many developing countries. However, current attempts to enforce forest laws do not always target the causes of illegal logging. Instead, they persecute poor rural people living in forest regions.
Illegal logging causes huge environmental damage and deprives governments of revenue. Research from the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia warns that the current focus of law enforcement efforts is unfair. It focuses too greatly on poor and marginalised groups who depend on forest resources.
Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) has emerged as an international policy framework to tackle illegal forestry and promote sustainable forest management. The aims of FLEG are:
The impact of FLEG law enforcement on forest communities has not been fully appreciated. In many countries, current forest laws limit the rights of forest dependent communities. For example, they often face difficulties exercising their rights to the ownership, access and use of forest resources.
Key findings from the research include:
Laws tend to be applied selectively and favour large-scale forestry industries or those who can afford to pay bribes. FLEG targets small-scale forest users, which reinforces the exclusion of forest dependent communities from policy processes. FLEG rarely challenges large businesses, chief executive officers or shareholders who benefit from illegal forest activities. This approach therefore does little to tackle the causes of large-scale illegal logging.
Key policy recommendations include:
‘Justice in the forest – Rural livelihoods and forest law enforcement’ Forest Perspectives 3, Center for International Forestry Research, by Marcus Colchester, 2006 (PDF) Full document.
Funded by: UK Department for International Development; PROFOR
id21 Research Highlight: 4 January 2007
Contact the contributor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for International Forestry Research
Situ Gede, Sindand Barang
Bogor Barat 16680
+62 (251) 622622
Fax: +62 (251) 622100
Contact the contributor: email@example.com
Other related links:
'Laying down the law in the forestry sector'
'Illegal logging and forest livelihoods: which way forward for greater justice?'
'Bringing legality to the timber trade'
'Fighting illegal activities in Asian forests'
See id21's links for forestry