Timber Transformer  

Image caption: Identifying the origin of trees and tracking and certifying the process is at the heart of legal logging.

The scale of deforestation from illegal logging in Indonesia was unprecedented. A study highlighted by Time magazine with researchers from the University of Maryland discovered that Indonesia lost six million hectares of its rainforest between 2000 and 2012.[1] It is not just the devastation of the forests and the animal and insect life the supports it – the impact on human beings is economic, psychological and social. 

The damage caused by illegal logging goes beyond the immediate and highly visible destruction of the forest. It is the wealth extracted from the local community who don’t benefit from the commerce, taxes and new skills that comes with investment in legal business and trade.

Illegal logging also dissolves the social bonds and trust between people, wider communities and the state. With Indonesia having the world’s third largest area of rainforest, the scale of the illegal logging and its impact on climate change hits twice over. Changing the timber industry with FLEGT has a butterfly effect that ripples change through the economic, the social, the citizen, the environmental, the climate and the planet as a whole. And in order for it to work the transformation means creating the intangible but essential material of ‘trust’.

The benefits are derived not just from enforcing law – it needs to be good law that’s seen as fair, because the enforcement process depends on the engage-ment of communities. Monitoring and auditing the supply chain generates involvement of civil society as a whole. Practices are established to oversee the implementation of the SVLK, with a network of monitoring groups set up. Building a legally robust supply chain also develops the durable and meaningful partnerships between people, business and institutions.

FLEGT is a response to a whole ecosystem in crisis of forests, wildlife and people. 
By supporting, protecting and developing the natural ecology, FLEGT helps the human ecology too, from forest dwellers in Indonesia to business in the UK …and the planet as a whole.

[1.] Time magazine July 1, 2014