- The Government of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has developed new legislation, policies, and plans to promote economic development through socially and environmentally sustainable forest management but illegal logging remains a challenge.
- There are risks associated with the land allocation process in Lao PDR and corruption persists, though this risk has been diminished by recent legal reforms around granting of concessions and management of conversion timber.
- Lao PDR has introduced numerous bans on the exports of unprocessed logs and sawn timber which has dramatically reduced trade with Vietnam and China.
- There remains a risk of unsustainable and illegal trade in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)-listed species, but a recent (September 2021) Order has prohibited imports and exports of goods protected via international conventions, including CITES.
- Enforcement is improving but is still weak and lacks sufficient resourcing.
Read more by downloading the Lao People’s Democratic Republic Timber Legality Risk Dashboard here.
European Union rules aimed at stopping deforestation threaten widespread disruption for Southeast Asia’s rubber sector, from Cambodia’s 30,000 small farmers to major exporters in Thailand and Malaysia.
The concern for Southeast Asia, critics say, is that these requirements will disproportionately hurt small farmers while failing to adequately address rubber’s role in deforestation.
The deforestation caused by the rubber farming in Thailand and the world has been significantly underestimated, according to new findings from two scientific studies, with Southeast Asian rubber production potentially contributing up to three times more forest depletion than previously thought.
With over 4 million hectares of forest lost for rubber production since 1993, an area the size of Switzerland, “the effects of rubber on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Southeast Asia could be extensive,” according to a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.
In Southeast Asia, mature rubber plantations covered 14.2 million hectares. Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam accounted for more than 70% of these plantations.
China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos were also important rubber-producing countries. Rubber plantations that were closed down before 2021 were excluded from the analysis, despite the fact that they may have contributed to deforestation.
While this article is a basic summary of recent reports on the trade of Myanmar teak and sanctions, it also lists a few countries where some FSC-certified or “ethical teak” can be found (Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Costa Rica, Brazil, Columbia)
Thailand, Laos and Myanmar are at the frontlines of illicit trade in Asia dominated by transnational organized crime syndicates.
The trafficking in illegal narcotics, precursor chemicals, timber and wildlife, people and illicit goods across Southeast Asia is being tackled thanks to the support of the specialized UN agency focusing on drugs and crime.
Illegal logging, concessions to private developers and agricultural encroachment on forest lands are jeopardizing Laos’s goal of achieving 70% forest cover density by 2035.
That’s according to a recent survey by Laos’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which pointed to an increase in illegal logging in the country.
The Lao government has lost $767 million to corruption in the past six years, media reports referred to the country’s State Inspection Authority. The leading sources of the widespread graft are government development and investment projects such as road and bridge construction, as well as illegal logging and wood trade, the authority said in a report published on April 11.
Police in Vientiane Capital have arrested six people believed to have undertaken illegal logging in a forest in Sangthong District. Police officers in cooperation with military personnel undertaking a routine patrol of the area found that timber businesses had illegally felled trees in the forest near Phou Phanang, according to Vientiane Capital Security News. The illegally sourced timber has been confiscated and an investigation is underway.
Authorities in Vientiane Province’s Kasi District have confiscated and destroyed illegal timber. According to a report by Lao Phattana Daily, some 170 pieces of hardwood were seized in Bouakxang Mountain at Nongsan Village of Kasi District. Authorities have permitted 94 blocks of illegal hardwood to be auctioned off to generate revenue for the government. The remaining 76 blocks of illegal timber were burned to prevent as a deterrent to further illegal logging.
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