EIA has been the leading force behind several of the biggest forest protection successes in recent years. Over the last decade we have exposed some of the worst hot-spots of criminal logging practices in Southeast Asia and Latin America, and instigated high-level policy changes within governments, corporations and international treaties. Some examples are highlighted below.
2008 A landmark ban on the import and commerce of illegally logged wood and derivative products into the United States. This seminal conservation measure, instigated by EIA and supported by a broad coalition of environmental and industry groups, has global implications. If implemented properly, it should leverage U.S. consumer power to dramatically reduce illegal logging worldwide.
2008 Illegal logging has been recognized as a major global problem in environmental, social and economic terms. The U.S., the world’s largest consumer of wood products, is a central player in driving the trade in illegally sourced timber. EIA’s report No Questions Asked explores the impacts of U.S. market demand for illegal timber—and the potential for change.
2008 The United States indicts an international smuggler of ramin wood – a species found in orangutan peat swamp habitat – sending a message to illegal timber traders around the world. For years EIA followed ramin trade flows from Indonesia and found much of the illegal wood arriving in the U.S. in the form of baby cribs, as in this case.
2008 WRI, EIA Form Partnership to Stem Illegal Forest Products Imported into U.S.
2008 U.S. Government Rolls Out Implementation for World's First Ban on Trade in Illegally Logged Wood: Congress, Retailers, Wood Industry and Environmental Groups Reach Agreement on Next Steps
2008 Environmental Investigation Agency Applauds U.S. Congress for Passing World’s First Ban on Import of Illegally Logged Wood
2008 U.S. House of Representatives Passes Legislation to Ban Illegal Wood Trade: Environmental Investigation Agency commends U.S. leadership on issue
2007 EIA’s report highlighting how Wal-Mart’s unquestioning procurement policies foster illegal logging garnered national media attention. Our exposé and follow-up are generating internal change and pressure for the company to ensure legal supply of its wood products – an outcome that could deflate demand for illegally logged wood and help protect forests worldwide. This includes the Russian habitat of the critically endangered Siberian tiger. Wal-Mart also agreed to stop selling baby cribs made from threatened Indonesian ramin wood (orangutan habitat) in the wake of previous EIA investigations.
2007 The trade agreement between the United States and Peru was renegotiated to include new environment and labor provisions, including a detailed Annex on Forest Sector Governance aimed at stopping a devastating but lucrative trade in illegal mahogany and other valuable woods. EIA’s expertise played a key role for the coalition of organizations conducting educational outreach around provisions that, for the first time in a U.S. bilateral agreement, establish specific and enforceable requirements to prevent the trade in illegally sourced timber products. If properly implemented, these provisions could improve forestry governance, help protect the rights of indigenous peoples, and help to reform a sector plagued by corruption and inadequate oversight.
2005 In November 2005 EIA released “The Illegal Logging Crisis in Honduras,” an exposé providing the most comprehensive documentation of illegal logging and cross-border timber smuggling in any Latin American country. The report created a media sensation in both Honduras and the United States, featured by ABC News, CNN International, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Miami Herald. In 2006, Honduran authorities initiated a major enforcement crackdown in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve–a mahogany-rich UNESCO World Heritage Site–and launched investigations of key illegal logging suspects. Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who came into office in late 2005 pledging in his inaugural speech to “end illegal logging,” has seen through the passage of a dramatically reformed Forestry Law crafted with meaningful participation by grassroots organizations.
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2005 EIA and its Indonesian partner, Telapak, triggered the biggest crackdown on illegal logging in history following our exposé of a billion-dollar-a-year smuggling operation of merbau logs from Indonesia’s Papua Province to China. This remote region contains some of the most biodiverse intact forest–providing habitat for over 40 different birds of paradise, tree kangaroos, Papuan forest wallabies and the world’s largest butterfly. Much of the timber was swindled from the lands of the indigenous Papuans. Indonesia’s president convened a special cabinet meeting, more than 1,500 enforcement personnel were dispatched, and 170 suspects arrested, including mid-ranking police and military officers. Some 14 million cubic feet of illegal timber were seized.
2002-4 Instigated a major international crackdown on the black market trade in endangered ramin, a wood species found in Asian orangutan habitat. In 2004 ramin was unanimously listed on Appendix II of the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, further restricting trade in the species.
2002 EIA’s exposé of Malaysian involvement in the smuggling of Indonesian timber resulted in a Malaysian government ban on log imports from Indonesia.
2001 EIA was a prime mover in a groundbreaking regional agreement in Southeast Asia, the Southeast Asian Forest Law Enforcement and Governance initiative, which provided the first international platform to directly address illegal logging issues on a regional, multilateral level.
“…the leading environmental organization providing expertise to policymakers on illegal logging and associated international trade.” Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office, May 2008
“EIA is unique and invaluable in baring the truth about an ugly
business – illegal logging. They work where I work, in places such as
Borneo and Honduras, and bring home to us the consumer the evidence
about the price rainforests pay for our 'cheap' luxuries.” Caroline
D. Gabel, President and CEO of The Shared Earth Foundation