As of June 2021

Over the past several decades, dozens of countries – most in tropical timber-producing areas – are reported to have enacted policies that restrict or prohibit the export of specific forest products, including raw logs and sawnwood. Following a multiyear global study on these Forest Product Export Restrictions (FPERs), Forest Trends has identified 139 policies across 72 countries that effectively restrict (or have previously restricted) the international export of one or more forest products, including information on the common FPER subset known as log export bans (LEBs).[1]

Information on these Forest Product Export Restrictions (FPERs) have been compiled into a legislative database, made available to the public in the below table:

Forest Trends FPER Database (Updated June 2021)

This database represents, to date, the most comprehensive analysis on these export restrictions, and suggests that the geographic and product coverage of Forest Product Export Restrictions is far broader than previously understood. Forest Trends’ analyses[2] reveal that in 2019, global markets purchased $4.88 billion of logs and $5.03 billion of sawnwood from countries with active export restrictions on those products (29% and 13% of global log and sawnwood imports, respectively). This has significant due diligence implications for importers of timber from these countries, and governance implications for the exporting countries.

FPERs range from comprehensive bans on all raw or crudely processed forest products, to more narrow, partial restrictions targeting certain types of timber, specific tree species, or distinct regions of harvest. In some countries, the wording of the FPER policies may be ambiguous or difficult to interpret. In some cases, government officials can grant exemptions under special circumstances. For this reason, it can be difficult to determine if the import of timber from a FPER country is illegal.

Nevertheless, the presence of a Forest Product Export Restriction (FPER) signals a need for additional risk assessment and mitigation actions to ensure that the import of certain products from these countries does not violate the specific laws and regulations of the source country.[3] In the US, Europe and Australia, regulated market transactions involving products in violation of a FPER policy from the country of harvest are typically within the scope of the US Lacey Act, the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act (ILPA).[4] Despite this, countries continue to import timber from FPER countries, potentially in violation of both the source countries’ and destination countries’ legislation. From 2012 – 2019, the USA imported imported $2.07 billion of sawnwood from countries with sawnwood export restrictions (SERs); the EU + EFTA[5] imported $1.88 billion in logs and $7.08 billion in sawnwood from countries restricting the export of those products; and Australia imported $179.2 million in sawnwood from SER countries.

While this analysis represents the most aggregated and codified database for FPERs to date, much remains unclear for the purposes of the enforcement of legal timber trade. Forest Trends encourages all interested parties to submit any information on Forest Product Export Restrictions to be considered for inclusion in future iterations of the database. For questions or to submit information, please contact Kerstin Canby at Forest Trends ([email protected]).


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[1] While most studies have historically applied the term “ban” to refer to these policies, Forest Trends instead applies the term “restrictions” to cover other limitations on exports, including maximum export quotas.

[2] Data was sourced from UN Comtrade and the Chinese General Administration of Customs. For more information on Forest Trends trade analyses, visit https://www.forest-trends.org/fptf-ilat-home/. The last data update was performed in: March 2021

[3] Despite their seeming simplicity, Forest Product Export Restrictions (FPERs) are often difficult to enforce, due to low capacity of government agencies to outright fraud and corruption along the supply chain.

[4] As such, logs as well as finished timber products imported into these markets from manufacturing hubs such as China and Vietnam would also be at risk for legality violations if these products originated as logs, sawnwood or other covered timber products imported into those countries in violation of a FPER.

[5] All references to “EU + EFTA” signify the 28 Member States of the European Union, as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.