Illegal logging is 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.
The U.S. is the world’s largest importer of illegal timber. 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 sought to curb the illegal practice by banning the importation, exportation, purchase, and sale of illegally sourced plants. The amendment also requires companies that trade in most wood products to submit formal declarations that state the species and origin of their harvest. Cargo that has not been appropriately declared may be seized by government officials, and companies found to have provided false information in their paperwork may be prosecuted and penalized with fines.
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, are the key in this important fight to protect our habitats. In one important case from October 2015, Lumber Liquidators was fined over 13 million dollars in 2015 under the Lacey Act for illegal logging, which has been the largest Lacey Act fine to date!
Confidentially Report Illegal Logging
If you have information related to illegal logging, submit a report using our secure, confidential intake form, and our attorneys will review your case for free. The Whistleblower Legal Assistance Program helps connect whistleblowers with legal whistleblower attorneys. You can get the help you need submitting the information you have to appropriate law enforcement officials and learn about your eligibility for monetary rewards under the law.