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Socio-economic, environmental, and governance impacts of illegal logging


This article examines the main impacts of the illegal logging activities with emphasis on the most important timber production regions. Although the discussion is focused on the environmental, socio-economic and governance impacts, it must be stressed that the term forest governance is the umbrella where the economy, the environmental values, and welfare of forest-dependent communities are sheltered. Considering the effects/impacts of the illegal logging as a whole, we can summarize the following negative key points: (1) Degradation of the most valuable forest stands threatening biodiversity, including rare and endangered species. (2) Increase in soil erosion and landslides. Increase in CO2 release and climatic changes. (3) Human rights abuses and disrespect of the basic needs of local communities and their culture. (4) Corruption, crime, coercion, and money laundering. (5) Reduction of royalties, taxes, and other charges paid by logging companies to the producer States. (6) Depreciation of legal activities due to the unfair concurrence. Despite multiple efforts, the results in the combat of illegal logging are far from satisfactory. Increase the certification area in parallel with an accurate control, devolve the state land to the ancient local owners, increase the cooperation between civil society and forest authorities, and finally strongly improve forest governance, particularly anti-money laundering laws, are crucial aspects in the combat of illegal logging. Furthermore, governments and businesses must implement the triple bottom line concept in order to reach sustainability.

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The author is deeply grateful to Dr. Alan Phillips (UK) for the accurate revision of the manuscript and encouragement and all the Reviewers for the useful suggestions and remarks.

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Correspondence to Fernando Reboredo.

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Reboredo, F. Socio-economic, environmental, and governance impacts of illegal logging. Environ Syst Decis 33, 295–304 (2013).

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  • Illegal logging
  • Environmental impacts
  • Governance impacts
  • Socio-economic impacts