Resource Security and Wildlife Trade - Timber

Geographical location:

Asia/Pacific > East Asia > Japan

Verifying the country of origin of logs and saw timber is one of the
most difficult tasks for responsible government enforcement agencies. Southeast Asia.
© TRAFFIC Southeast Asia

Summary

This project aims to contribute to the overall goal of the sustainable management of the timber trade. It will focus on improvements to the coordination of customs’ work. There is a particular emphasis on trade with Indonesia from which a large volume of timber is imported.

Specific actions include quantifiying the present state of illegal timber trade from Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia; supporting capacity building of the Indonesian customs officers and making recommendations to curb illegal logging and timber trade.

Background

Illegal logging and timber trade are recognized problems within the timber and paper industries, but the extent and the mechanisms by which the trade operates are not known.

In order to exclude illegal products from the market, it is necessary to distinguish the illegal from the legal. However, this is difficult to achieve. Current trade data are insufficient, therefore to exclude illegal trade, it is necessary to understand present flow problems and increase transparency in the trade.

In the tropical forests in Indonesia biodiversity is rapidly being lost because of illegal logging and smuggling. Indonesia produces 40% of plywood in the world, most of which is consumed in Japan, China, and Korea. Japan is therefore directly linked related to the problems in Indonesia.

Objectives

The general objective matches the TRAFFIC Global Programme (3.1.1): Mechanisms to enhance the transparency of the timber trade for at least 10 countries and internationally through production and communication of the results of 5 bilateral country case studies of timber trade reporting for selected commodities and species by the end of 2006 (Conduct study of Japan-Indonesia timber trade, with recommendations to improve bilateral statistics on ramin and other timber species).

Specific objectives

- Ensure updated information of rare timber and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is recognized by timber importers and dealers, and establish a relationship to exchange information.

- Maintain appropriate relationships to exchange information with stakeholders such as customs officers and other governmental administrations.

- Improve waterfront operations of the Japanese customs office.

- Improve trade data of major nations.

Solution

- Hold law enforcement workshops for Indonesian and Japanese government officials.

- Produce the necessary reports and distribute them to the relevant parties.

- Produce an identification manual for tropical timber.

- Disseminate updated CITES information to stakeholders.

- Maintain communications with the agarwood industry to enhance the transparency of the agarwood trade.

Achievement

By March 2006

- With financial support of the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund (KNCF), a workshop to cope with illegal Indonesian timber trade was held in Jakarta for law enforcement officials.

- With KNCF, a CITES and Timber Trade workshop was held in December for officials of the Japanese government and those of the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia. Relevant information was exchanged and awareness of the illegal trade issue was raised.

- A report on the domestic trade in agarwood was produced and presented to the Plant Committee of CITES.

By March 2007

- With financial support from Marubeni Corporation and technical support from the Canadian government and a Japanese tropical wood expert, an identification manual for tropical timber was produced. The Japanese Ministry of Finance distributed it to 40 major customs offices.

- Merbau trade: TRAFFIC East-Asia Japan (TEAJ) organized an international meeting on merbau with concerned nations (i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, USA, Australia). Concerns over the present states of merbau trade were shared among the participants.

- Agarwood: TEAJ lobbied the Japanese government for their active involvement to support the agarwood workshop jointly organized by the Malaysian government, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Wildlife Law Enforcement Network.

By March 2008

- TRAFFIC Network commenced a timber customs statistics project and, in the first phase, produced a draft report on timber trade statistics data and regulations of exporting and importing nations. TEAJ produced a case study report on gaps in trade data between Indonesia and Japan. Based on this report, TEAJ will issue an official request to the Japanese Customs Authority to improve data handling.

- TRAFFIC Network actively lobbied at the 2nd Round of the International Experts Meeting on Illegal Logging from G8 held in March 2008 in Tokyo. TRAFFIC’s argument that better international collaborations were needed among customs authorities of nations was successfully included in the meeting summary as an important agenda.

- In response to a request from Forestry Agency of Japan, TEAJ collected information on afrormosia or African teak (Pericopsis elata) from 2 TRAFFIC offices in Africa and conducted a market survey in Japan. TRAFFIC submitted a report to the agency.

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