Preventing illegal logging

Timber that is imported into New Zealand can sometimes come from illegal logging in other countries. Find out about MPI's work to prevent importation of illegally logged timber and how you can help.

The problems with illegal logging

It's estimated that illegal logging accounts for up to 30% of the global timber trade, and contributes to more than 50% of tropical deforestation in Central Africa, the Amazon Basin and South East Asia.

Illegal logging causes enormous damage to forests, local communities and to the economies of producer countries. It affects local communities by taking away income from sustainable forestry practices. Deforestation also causes habitat loss of forest species (including endangered species), soil degradation and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

On the other hand, legally logged timber and sustainable forestry provide an important source of income for local communities (often in developing countries).

MPI's role

MPI combats importation of illegally logged timber through a number of activities including:

  • encouraging voluntary industry initiatives
  • developing policy to address illegal logging
  • international engagement
  • government policy for buying timber products.

We work with Australia and other countries to combat illegal logging and promote sustainable forest management.

Find out more

Certification of legally logged timber

Certification is the only way to be sure whether timber products are from legal logging.

There are a number of different certification schemes available to show the sustainability and legality of timber products (such as Forest Stewardship Council and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) which are used by many New Zealand retailers.

What you can do

Check tropical timber

Tropical timber has the highest risk of being illegally logged. Tropical hardwoods are durable and attractive for products such as decking timber and furniture. These are products to ask questions about.

Check timber certification

Check products before you buy them. Products such as outdoor furniture often have labels showing where the timber is from and certification. If the timber isn't certified, it might not be legally or sustainably logged.

Ask shop staff if you aren't sure where a product is from or whether it is produced sustainably.

You can also check to see whether the retailer is a member of the New Zealand Imported Timber Trade Group (ITTG). Importers and retailers that are members of ITTG aim to only import and sell sustainable timber products.

Find out more

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