Many processed wood products come from trees cut down illegally: report

Freshly cut tree trunks near a forest roadAlmost half the processed wood products arriving in the Netherlands come from trees which have been cut down illegally, news agency ANP says on Tuesday.

This means an EU ban on illegally-harvested wood introduced last year is being widely flouted, according to the Probos institute in Wageningen. Probos focuses on sustainable forestry in the Netherlands and abroad.

The Netherlands is one of the biggest importers of processed wood products in Europe, behind Britain, Germany and France. Companies importing the wood – used to make furniture and toys for example – must be able to show it was legally cut down.

Probos says much of the illegal wood is able to circumvent the EU ban because it first goes to China, where the products are made, and is then imported legally into the Netherlands.

The World Bank puts the illegal wood trade at between €10bn to €15bn a year.

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