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Risk Score
54.6
Risk Profile
Higher Risk
Conflict State
No
Log Export Restriction
Yes
Other Timber Export Restrictions
Yes
Import Regulation
No
Legality Risks Click for details on legality risks

Thailand has banned harvesting from natural forests since 1989 and there are no natural forest concessions. This means that the main source of timber is either from national plantations or imports. Domestic plantation-grown raw materials primarily include rubberwood and to a lesser extent eucalyptus. Thailand’s highly complex and ever-changing tenure systems create continuing challenges related to the legality of some plantation species, particularly rubberwood and eucalyptus. As such, the main legality risks for timber sourced from Thailand surround the legal right to harvest, that are rooted in unclear land tenure, illegal land documents, and infringements of the laws in licensed plantations. Illegalities related to harvesting activities, such as harvesting without a permit, illegal logging of protected species and in protected areas, and illegal trade and transport (e.g. incorrect identification of species during transport) have been reported particularly for high value redwoods such as Siamese rosewood.

  • Thailand’s forest area has remained relatively stable above 30 percent of the total land area since 2014. This reflects some localized high rates of natural forest loss in the north of the country accompanied by strong reforestation and plantation development policies.
  • Thailand has banned harvesting from natural forests since 1989 which means that the main source of timber is from national plantations or imported wood. Domestic plantation-grown raw materials are primarily, rubberwood and teak and to a lesser extent eucalyptus.
  • Thailand’s complex and evolving tenure systems create continuing challenges for verifying the legality of plantation grown species such as rubberwood and eucalyptus.
  • Most non-plantation grown wood used in Thai-manufactured products is commonly understood to have been imported. Imported timber is sourced from both higher- and lower-risk source countries.
  • Illegal logging of natural forest in protected areas continues to be reported, particularly for high-value redwood species.
  • There remains a risk of unsustainable and illegal trade in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)-listed species.

Read more by downloading the Thailand Timber Legality Risk Dashboard here.

Latest Updates Click for latest news from Thailand
May 15, 2024
China’s Black Box: Antique Furniture Frenzy Fuels Rosewood Crisis

Over three million tons of West African Rosewood have been shipped to China since 2017. The logs are manufactured into high-end Chinese furniture and exported worldwide as part of a multi-billion dollar furniture industry.

 

In November, Wood Central reported that CITES had banned the felling, transportation, and exportation of West African Rosewood in response to Chinese traders’ “industrial-scale” exploitation of the timbers. That move, according to environmental watchdog forest-trends, is an acknowledgment that past measures to protect the species, known as P. erinaceus, have “not worked and that CITES Parties (who are responsible for the measures to verify the legality and sustainability of trade, have not been able to eradicate illegal trade alone.”

Now, a new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency alleges that the multi-billion dollar trade is showing no signs of slowing, despite CITES and the Gambian government’s both introducing outright bans on the harvest and distribution of the timbers.

More...
April 5, 2024
PEFC chain of custody certification in Thailand

One of the world’s largest paper companies, Thai-based Double A, is now PEFC-certified for chain-of-custody.

 

Double A produces 600,000 tons of paper from its mills in Thailand and France. As part of an agroforestry project known as KHAN-NA, Double A is now working with 1.5 million Thai landowners to grow 200 million eucalyptus trees around the edges of rice fields.

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April 3, 2024
How to ensure due diligence policies actually tackle deforestation

New research using Trase data shows that supply chain divergence to meet different consumer requirements already is a reality. Brazil’s exporters, for example, sell soy to Denmark and Norway that is four-times less exposed to deforestation than soy sent to China or used domestically.

 

The researchers interviewed companies from the Brazilian soy sector and confirmed such segmentation is both predictable and standard practice. While physical segregation of soy grains can be challenging, it has not been difficult for certain traders and regions exposed to very different levels of deforestation to specialise in markets that demand higher or lower levels of sustainability.

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January 22, 2024
CP Foods subsidiary and LDC ink deal on satellite mapping for soy traceability

CP Foods subsidiary, Bangkok Produce Merchandising (BKP), and Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) have formalized a collaboration aimed at leveraging satellite mapping solutions and traceability data points to create sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains, specifically focusing on soy products.

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December 28, 2023
Shrinking civil space and persistent logging: 2023 in review in Southeast Asia

Mongabay presents a short summary of status of illegal logging and forest governance in SE Asia.

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November 28, 2023
Malaysia, Indonesia seek allies in EU deforestation row

Malaysia and Indonesia want to bring other Southeast Asian countries on their side amid ongoing disputes with the European Union over environmental and deforestation regulations that are set to take effect in late 2024, with the two nations worried about the regulations’ impact on the region’s agriculture exports. Both Southeast Asian states have independently initiated complaints against the EU to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

 

Indonesia and Malaysia, which together account for around 85% of global palm oil production, argue that the EU Deforestation-Free Regulation is discriminatory and unfairly punishes small-scale farmers who will struggle to cope with the bureaucratic demands set by Brussels.

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November 19, 2023
Forest faux pas: Illegal loggers caught in the act as DSI turns the spotlight on hidden tree mischief in Thailand

An unsanctioned logging operation, hidden deep within Thailand’s Bang Khanun protected forest, was inadvertently exposed during a routine inspection by officers from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

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November 6, 2023
Timber thieves’ tumble: Thai police bust illegal logging gang in 33 million baht raid

Panatchakorn Potibandit, director of the preventive and suppression strategy unit at the Forest Protection and Fire Control Office, revealed that a team of specialised rangers carried out the warehouse raid to arrest the timber thieves. Their search unveiled a cache of 30 Narra logs, with nine of them traced back to the forest reserve of Phu Soi Dao National Park in Uttaradit province. Alongside the Narra logs, officials also uncovered 50 pieces of Burmese rosewood timber, 51 Burmese rosewood logs, and 59 more Narra timbers.

 

It is believed that these valuable illicit wood resources, collectively worth 33 million baht, were the ill-gotten gains of a timber thieves gang. Their cunning strategy involved hoarding the wood in the warehouse before attempting to smuggle it to neighbouring countries.

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November 3, 2023
Myanmar military using foreigners including Thais as human shields

Myanmar’s military junta has used foreigners including Thais as human shields in northeastern Shan State, where fighting the junta and an ethnic alliance is escalating, according to The Irrawaddy online.

 

Apart from Thais, other foreign nationals were those from Nepal, Ethiopia and Laos. “The army is using them as forced labor to build bunkers, dig trenches, and carry timber. They are practically human shields.”

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November 3, 2023
From Cambodia to Thailand, rubber producers brace for new EU rules

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.

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October 26, 2023
US ‘perfect playground’ for laundering money linked to environmental crimes, new report finds

The report by the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, published on Oct. 26,  said that “critical gaps” in the U.S. anti-money laundering system are vulnerable to exploitation by criminal groups, including those behind the destruction of the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

 

FACT’s analysis focuses on forestry crimes and illegal mining in Peru and Colombia.  The report also summarizes how U.S. importers sidestep the law by not trading directly with the blacklisted Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) but instead with non-sanctioned Myanmar exporters and middlemen based in Singapore, Thailand and other third countries.

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October 25, 2023
Thailand’s Rubber Farming a Major Contributor to 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.

More...
October 16, 2023
New eTree platform to help timber farmers

The Royal Forest Department (RFD) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have formally launched eTree, a digital platform designed to support growers register the trees they are growing to sell as timber.

 

The eTree platform is intended specifically for people who are interested in growing trees for sale but are unable to register the land they intend to grow them on commercially as a “forest plantation” under the Forest Plantation Act.

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June 3, 2023
Is teak furniture immoral? Why we no longer recommend our former favorite

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)

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June 2, 2023
Huge increase in transnational crime and synthetic drugs in SE Asia requires cross-border cooperation

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.

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May 23, 2023
Illegal logging gang caught in Thai wildlife reserve, drugs found

While Thailand no longer has extensive natural forests left, illegal logging still occurs. This media outlet reports recent enforcement efforts, including the police arrest of a forest ranger and four of his friends for illegal logging in Khon Kaen province in northeast Thailand. The gang cut down protected and valuable species such as Siamese rosewood and Burmese padauk.

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May 4, 2023
Barclays quietly introduces tougher deforestation rules

Barclays has published new supply chain sustainability requirements for clients in forest-risk commodity sectors including beef and palm oil.

Barclay’s has added a new Forestry and Agricultural Commodities statement to its website this week. The statement stipulates that Barclays has “no appetite” to support companies directly involved in illegal forest clearance.

 

From the beginning of July,  beef producers will not be able to undertake work in areas of the Amazon rainforest cleared or converted after 2008.

 

Those producing beef in South America will also need to prove that they gave deforestation-free supply chains by 2025. By the end of 2025, these firms will need to update their policy commitments on deforestation and human rights, and to monitor and report on deforestation-free product volumes.

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April 9, 2023
Examination ordered of money trail of forestry official allegedly involved in illegal lumber trade

An investigation has been ordered into the source of money paid into the bank accounts of a female official of the Forest Department, who is alleged to be connected with a large quantity of illegal Burma Padauk (Pterucarpus macrocarpus) lumber, found at a sawmill in Doi Saket district in Chiang Mai.

 

*** Of particular interest is the mention of the use of technology such as mini transmitters embedded in the Burma Padauk trees.

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April 8, 2023
https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2545451/illegal-timber-case-triggers-manhunt

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation is seeking police assistance to locate the mastermind behind an illegal timber case in the North. Yesterday, forest officials seized 401…

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Publications Click for publications related to Thailand
Thailand’s forest area has remained relatively stable above 30 percent of the total land area since 2014. This reflects some localized high rates of natural forest loss in the north of the country accompanied by strong reforestation and plantation development policies. Thailand has banned harvesting from natural forests since 1989 which means that the main […]
While subsistence agriculture and logging still contribute to deforestation, commercial-scale agricultural expansion is now recognized as by far the single largest driver of deforestation worldwide and thus also of greenhouse gas emissions from land-use change. Several initiatives have quantified how much and where deforestation is driven by commercial agriculture, and even how much of this […]
As Thailand positions itself an export-focused manufacturer, maintaining access to markets will increasingly require efforts to verify that all timber in its products (both imported and domestically produced) is legal. Regulations to tackle the trade in illegal wood have now been operational across the European Union (through the EU Timber Regulation or EUTR), in the[…]
Key Resources
Click here for a collection of Forest Trends publications related to IDAT Risk, including the full set of Timber Legality Risk Country Dashboards.
Methodology
Click here to download the Methodology which includes information on data sources, the methodology used to create risk indicators, and a glossary of key terms.
Data Tools

Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.

Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.

Export Restrictions
Click here to download a database of forest policy export restrictions.