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Indicators to monitor progress of forest law enforcement and governance initiatives to control illegal practices in the forest sector

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This paper offers a preliminary and conceptual look at the use of indicators to evaluate forest sector law enforcement and governance. Corrupt and illegal practices are widespread in the forest sector, they pose a major threat to the sustainable management of forest resources, and hamper economic growth, equitable income distribution, and efforts at poverty reduction. More specifically illegal practices may:

Put at risk the livelihoods of the poor and forest dependent populations who rely heavily on timber and non-timber forest products.


Distort markets for timber and pose an obstacle to responsible forest operators attempting to practice SFM.


Lead to a leakage of resources (tax revenues in particular) that legitimately belong in the government treasury for possible use in protecting and improving the quality of the resource and other development activities.


Make a significant addition to the illegal or unofficial economy and therefore jeopardise national monetary and exchange rate policies, and encourage other illegal activities.


Directly threaten ecosystems, biodiversity and environmental services in protected areas and parks.


Reduce the intended beneficial impacts of forest sector projects and contribute to their failure.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ESSD Forest Team, The World Bank, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington DC 20433, USA 2: Principal, Sylvan Environmental Consultants, 1616 P Street, NW, Suite 200, Washington DC 20036, USA

Publication date: 01 September 2003

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