Illegal logging and trade in timber is a major cause of forest degradation in the world today. Not only does it threaten biodiversity-rich old growth forests, it also endangers the livelihoods of the traditional communities that are dependent upon them. But controlling this global problem is not a simple matter of enacting new laws and enforcing new regulations — the rules already exist. If countries are to manage their forest sustainably they must implement existing laws effectively, and they must do so now!
Cut and Run offers readers valuable insight on how this might be done. It exposes and analyzes illegal practices in the logging industry and timber trade of four tropical countries. In Brazil, Asian logging companies are furtively establishing themselves in Amazonia. In Paraguay, complicity in illegal activities has reached the highest levels of society. In Ghana, illegal activity by cocoa farmers is devastating forests. And, in Cameroon, fines and fees are seldom imposed and enforcement is grossly inadequate.
Of course, these countries are not alone. From Paraguay to Siberia, from Thailand to Canada, our forests are being jeopardized by unscrupulous and illegal logging practices. Cut and Run also provides a global overview of the problem and presents solid conclusions and recommendations for effective future regulation of this precious resource.
Rob Glastra is currently National Parks Expert for DGIS, the Dutch Ministry for Development Cooperation, stationed in Bolivia. From 1995 to 1997, he coordinated the illegal logging project for Friends of the Earth (FoE) International, which involved research teams in Brazil, Cameroon, Ghana, and Paraguay.