Following last week’s news concerning Indonesia’s illegal logging issues, it seems that it's not the only country facing problems. The Moscow Times has, this week, published a report that details the large areas of forested land being rapidly destroyed by illegal logging in Russia.
According to the newspaper, the cost of illegal logging to the Russian economy in 2010 was around $123 million however, it’s thought that these registered losses may represent only a small amount of the true impact of the activity as it’s estimated that 80% of the hardwood that comes from the east of the territory is cut illegally.
The illegal logging that takes place in Russia’s Far East isn’t just concerning for forestry experts but also has a potentially detrimental effect on wildlife and indigenous populations that call these forests home. The report suggests the trade brings 'high profits for both the Chinese and Russian mafia,’ and the hardwood forests being ravaged in the pursuit of profit is adversely affecting the Siberian tiger population that make use of the forests as a habitat, as well as 'destroying the livelihoods of more than 100,000 indigenous people'.
The Western world has been blamed for incubating the illegal trade such is the demand for quality wooden furniture in these territories and the difficulty that firms have in ascertaining the source of timber materials imported from eastern European suppliers.
Whilst a large proportion of commercial timber suppliers in western Europe strive to follow procedures and EU guidelines governing the importation of timber, the lack of enforcement by governments in the territories from which the materials are imported from, coupled with corruption and the influence of organised crime, often results UK suppliers unwittingly importing illegally obtained wood.
It has been suggested that with the growing concern amongst consumers for eco-friendly and ethically sourced wood has led to the growth of the use of reclaimed timber in the UK. Eat Sleep Live only uses wood that has been sourced from the UK, from sites that are scheduled for demolition. The reclaimed wood industry is now bigger than ever as companies and individuals are looking for ways to supply and buy quality wood and wooden furniture without imposing a dent on the environment.
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