From: Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM, More from this Affiliate
Published October 13, 2013 12:19 PM

Australia Officially Bans Imports of Illegally-Logged Timber

Australia has passed long-debated laws to prohibit the import and trade of illegally logged timber.

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The laws require Australian companies to conduct due diligence on timber and wood products they import from overseas. Firms found to source illegal timber will be subject to fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture of goods.

The laws come after the United States and European Union passed similar regulations for timber imports.

Environmentalists generally view the laws favorably as a means to crack down on the illegal timber trade, which is estimated at $10-30 billion annually. Domestic timber producers also support the laws, which may help protect against cheaper illegal wood.

In response to the new regulations, last month Indonesia implemented a certification scheme that aims to ensure the legality of timber exports.

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