As much as 23% to 30% of hardwood lumber and plywood traded globally could be from illegal logging activities

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Illegal logging refers to the international trade of illegally extracted timber, which is often used to make products such as paper, packaging, and furniture. Timber can be illegally harvested, transported, processed, bought and sold in violation of national regulations.

In the global market for illegal timber, the U.S. is the world’s largest importer. Surprisingly, licensed companies play a major role in the illegal trade—as most illegally sourced timber is traded openly after being laundered into legal supply chains or unidentified as illegal.

A 2008 amendment to the Lacey Act banned the importing, exporting, buying, and selling of illegally sourced plants, and requires companies trading in most wood products to submit formal declarations of the species and origin of harvest. Cargo without accurate declaration can be seized, and companies found to have provided false information in their paperwork can be prosecuted and fined.

The Lacey Act, and other laws provide rewards for whistleblowers who come forward about illegal logging operations, which threaten the health of forests around the world. If you have information related to illegal logging operations or the transportation of illegally logged lumber Submit a Report using the NWC secure confidential report intake form. In October 2015, Lumber Liquidators was fined over 13 million dollars in 2015 under the Lacey Act for illegal logging; a landmark case awarding the largest Lacey Act fine yet!

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