Illegal logging | WWF

Illegal logging

Illegal logging threatens some of Europe’s last remaining old-growth forests, like Bialowieza in Poland.
Illegal logging also destroy forests globally, putting at risk unique wildlife and habitats. It increases emissions and depletes natural resources. It also undermines local development and legitimate businesses.

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the EU Action Plan on Forest Law and Environmental Governance (FLEGT) are the EU’s key pieces of legislation that help tackle this issue. The EU institutions are currently reviewing the EUTR. The FLEGT needs to be better implemented and further improved, so it can address new EU challenges like deforestation.

What is WWF doing?

WWF wants to strengthen the enforcement and implementation of EUTR. We are also engaged in the implementation and evaluation of FLEGT.

Since its entry into force in 2013, the EUTR aims to ensure illegally logged timber and timber products are no longer sold on the European market. In 2016 European Commission carried out an evaluation of the EUTR, showing the need for more action from the Member States and the private sector to make sure EUTR is put in action. 

The regulation is currently undergoing a review and WWF is advocating for the regulation to include all timber products, including musical instruments, printed materials, seating and charcoal (download position paper).

To improve the forest management in countries with illegal and unsustainable logging, the EU adopted FLEGT in 2003. It addresses development cooperation, trade in timber, public procurement, private sector initiatives, and finance and investment. FLEGT measures cover both consumer and producer countries.

The external evaluation of the EU FLEGT Action plan concluded that the plan has a crucial role for driving change but that it needs to be better implemented. Part of this are Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) - bilateral agreements between the EU and countries facing problems with illegal logging. Such agreements make forest governance stronger and more inclusive.

In WWF we want to make sure these agreements are negotiated, and put into action, in an effective and inclusive way, with sufficient resources and long-term funding. We also want to see FLEGT better aligned with other political processes that deal with the causes of deforestation, illegal logging and forest degradation. 

Policy timeline