Lessons from Illegal Logging

Illegal logging is pervasive and needs to be tackled in a comprehensive approach to REDD. In the Brazilian Amazon roughly 80 percent of all timber cutting is illegal, with no effective control over harvest operations or payment of government royalties (Laurance, 1998). The task of controlling illegal logging is complex:

Ibama, Brazil's environment agency, has a small number of officials to police a vast region. Last year it collected just 6 percent of the fines it levied. . .But a

Table 8.1 Governance in the top ten countries for deforestation

Deforestation

Annual

Contribution

Corruption

Failed

2000-2005

deforestation

to global

Indexa

state

sq km

(%)

Brazil

155,150

0.6

24.1

3.60

No

Indonesia

93,570

1.9

14.5

2.25

No

Sudan

29,450

0.8

4.6

1.75

Yes

Myanmar

23,320

1.3

3.6

1.40

Yes

Zambia

22,240

1.0

3.4

2.60

No

Tanzania

20,610

1.1

3.2

3.15

No

Nigeria

20,480

3.1

3.2

2.25

Yes

Democratic

15,970

0.2

2.5

1.95

Yes

Republic of

Congo

Zimbabwe

15,560

1.6

2.4

2.10

Yes

Venezuala

14,380

0.6

2.2

2.00

No

Note: a The lower the Corruption Index (with a range of 1 to 10), the higher the corruption level. For example Australia, which had a high rate of deforestation in 20002005, and qualified 16th with almost 10 000 sq km of deforestation, had a corruption rating of 8.55.

Note: a The lower the Corruption Index (with a range of 1 to 10), the higher the corruption level. For example Australia, which had a high rate of deforestation in 20002005, and qualified 16th with almost 10 000 sq km of deforestation, had a corruption rating of 8.55.

Source: Tacconi (2007a: Table 1).

visit to a town such as Paragominas suggests that effective enforcement would take a lot more than hiring extra inspectors. The atmosphere is that of a frontier region where no one quite knows who owns the land and property disputes are often settled by violence. Everyone milks the forest for what they can get. (The Economist, 1998: 3)

In Indonesia, logging might be illegal under the central government but because of the fragmented nature of district governments under the policy of regional autonomy, collusive corruption is more pervasive in the post-Suharto era, enabling illegal logging to flourish. Local business elites are influential in the decentralized administrations that take formal decisions favoring the interest of the elites and those of their business partners outside the region (Curran et al., 2004; McCarthy, 2007). The failure of enforcement of protected areas is a key reason for the loss of orangutan habitat (Rijksen and Meijaard, 1999).

In Kalimantan illegal extraction and processing of timber is an extensive and deeply entrenched system and the clearing for agriculture is pervasive with some 50 percent of the protected forest in the Indonesian part of Kalimantan being deforested between 1985 and 2001 (Casson and Obidinski, 2007; Curran et al., 2004).

The International Tropical Timber Organization committed to implementing sustainable forest management by the year 2000. But only about 7 percent of natural forest in the permanent estate of member countries was managed sustainably as of 2005 (ITTO, 2006). The lack of commitment to sustainable forest management by governments is because it yields lower economic benefits than the conversion of forest to other uses (NortonGriffiths and Southey, 1995).

The World Bank's definition of illegality is a broad one, including timber theft, evasion of taxes and fees, to non-compliance with labor and environmental laws. In 17 countries surveyed, two-thirds had illegal logging rates of at least 50 percent. The annual losses in global market value from illegal cutting of forests was estimated at over $10 billion and annual losses in government revenues about $5 billion (World Bank, 2007). The Bank emphasizes the need to control indirect drivers of illegal logging such as the failure of law and of law enforcement. The politically well-connected interest groups tend to benefit from the status quo and will actively resist change. At the same time law enforcement must ensure that the forest-dependent poor are not unfairly punished.

The section now turns to consider socioeconomic aspects of REDD that may not have achieved the prominence that they deserve. There is a consideration of the comprehensiveness of the information that led Stern (2006) to suggest that curbing deforestation would be cheap.

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