What we do
Премия рунета 2017

Combating Illegal Logging and Corruption in Forest Sector

Illegal logging is one of the most pressing problems of forest sector in Russia. According to miscellaneous data 10 — 35% of timber are logged in our country on illegal basis. In some regions total annual harvest contains up to 50% of timber of illegal or dubious origin (not confirmed by proper documents).

Illegal logging is obtaining, transporting, processing, sale and purchase of timber with violation or by evasion of national and/or regional laws (WWF Position Paper on Illegal Loggings and Forest Crime, April 2002).


  • Logging of rare and endangered species;
  • Logging in protected areas where logging is not permitted;
  • Logging under the guise of thinning and salvage logging;
  • Logging in the breach of approved rules and/or technologies;
  • Commercial logging by local communities for sale reported as ‘subsistence’ logging.

Even legally harvested timber may be later got involved into illegal trade when customs, transport or trade laws and regulations are breached.

WWF-Russia is actively involved in tackling of illegal logging at the national and regional levels. This work is supported by the WWF-IKEA Partnership on Forests and the ENPI-FLEG Program.

WWF-Russia activities include:

  • Research of supply chains;
  • Analysis of the official data on timber harvesting and trade;
  • Analysis of traded species;
  • Analysis of the forest companies activities and their environmental policies;

The WWF reports cite the data of experts on volumes of illegally logged wood and wood of dubious origin, species exported outside the country, and the main flows of illegal timber within the country and buyers of «dubious» timber.

WWF-Russia developed a number of proposals to reduce illegal timber trade, which include:

  • Raise effectiveness of the forest control, re-establish the Forest Rangers Service;
  • Introduce timber legality verification systems;
  • Strengthen environmental responsibility of the forest private sector companies;
  • Develop and apply economic incentives and customs benefits to stimulate domestic timber processing;
  • decrease export of unprocessed logs;
  • Development of timber accounting system and data bases to track timber origin from a stump to a consumer;
  • Promote interdepartmental cooperation;
  • Development of consistent data bases for timber tracking from a felling site up to an importer.

WWF-Russia developed a number of tools to identify illegal timber and keep it out of supply chains including the Keep it Legal Country Guide for Russia and the Timber Species Identification Handbook. Both publications were supported by the WWF-IKEA Partnership on Forests.

Konstantin Kobyakov, HCVs coordinator
E-mail: kkobyakov@wwf.ru

Illegal salvage (sanitary) logging in Russia