Dr. Jianbang Gan is serving as a lead author of a global scientific assessment on illegal timber trade

At the invitation of the Global Forest Expert Panels of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), Dr. Jianbang Gan, professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, is serving as a lead author of the global scientific assessment report on illegal timber trade.

The CPF consists of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat, International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Secretariat, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and the World Bank.

Illegal logging and associated timber trade is a widespread global issue that impacts the forest ecosystems, local and national economies, and livelihoods of communities and interacts with other crimes. Illegal forest activities are not limited to tropical forests, but are occurring in temperate and boreal forests as well. In major tropical forest countries, illegal logging and timber trade has accounted for up to 90% of deforestation.

Illegal forest conversion for commercial agricultural production has contributed a significant portion of illegal logging and timber trade. Some estimates indicate that annual global trade value of illegal wood products has reached US$100 billion. Illegal logging and timber trade has caused hundreds of million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, and threatened biodiversity and the provisions of other forest ecosystem services.

Although tremendous efforts have been made at the local, national, regional, and global levels to combat illegal logging and timber trade over the past several decades, they meet with only limited success, calling for further and improved actions.

This report on the illegal timber trade will offer a scientific contribution to ongoing discussions in international policy fora. The assessment report and the corresponding policy brief are to be officially launched at the 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD COP-13) in December 2016 in Cancun, Mexico. They are expected to make a significant contribution to the next session of the UN Environment Assembly, UNEA-3 taking place in 2017.