Illegal forestry activities encompass illegal logging, associated illegal trade, and other forest crimes. The willingness of governments and international organizations to address this issue in international policy forums reflects a promising emergence from years past when sensitivity over political and sovereignty concerns muffled discussions. As evidenced by the Bali Ministerial Declaration on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance recently signed by several Asian governments, policy dialogue has shifted toward improving governance, transparency, monitoring, and suppression of illegal activity.
Environmental NGOs have played an important part in raising political awareness of the issue, and they continue to be important actors in monitoring, detecting, and analysis of illegal forestry activities, associated illegal trade, and other forest crimes. Industry has also been increasingly vocal about the need to combat illegal logging and to ensure sustainable practices are undertaken. The problem is a far-reaching one, with negative consequences such as environmental degradation, disrupted trade and market access, unsustainable economic development, and uncaptured revenue for the state and local communities.