Lower Mekong Region
The Sustainable Forest Trade Journey
Let's explore how forest trade in the Lower Mekong region is changing.
Forest trade in the Lower Mekong region is currently undergoing a significant shift. In recent years however, there has been a plunge in the export of primary wood products from the Lower Mekong to China. One species of particular note has been rosewood. China’s demand for rosewood has dampened in recent years by escalating prices, resulting in part from improved control on export of CITES-listed species, and the availability of less costly substitute species from Africa. These developments indicate both sustainability concerns and opportunities.
Watch the summary video or explore the page to go through the four-stop journey towards sustainable forest trade.
In this interview, Isabel Camarena from CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - talks about the challenges and opportunities for ensuring that timber trade does not threaten the survival of species.
Stop 2: Trends in China
The Chinese demand is changing fast. And the decisions that these consumers are making in terms of what they buy, eat consume, what furniture they buy and how they build their houses has direct impact on regions like the Mekong and that’s really a factor that needs to be taken in consideration.
Stop 2: Trends in China
The Chinese demand is changing fast. The decisions that these consumers are making in terms of what they buy, eat consume, what furniture they buy and how they build their houses has direct impact on regions like the Mekong and that’s really a factor that needs to be taken in consideration.
In this interview, Lichao Ma, Forest Stewarship Council, China Executive Director, tells us what is driving timber demand in China.
In this interview, Zhao Jie from the China Forest Certification Council talks about opportunities for trading CFCC certified timber internationally.
In this video story, we will hear an on-the-ground example of how certification helped improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the region.
In this interview, Charlotte Hicks from UNEP-WCMC talks about the opportunities and challenges of navigating through the plethora of digital platforms, data and tools that can assist in monitoring and analysing environmental trends.
In this interview, Chivin Leng, Director, Department of Geographic Information Services, Cambodia, talks about the challenges Cambodia faces in relation to forest monitoring, and his plans to better track environmental trends in the sector.
Stop 4: Smallholders and forest investments
Smallholders are at the heart of forest protection efforts in the Lower Mekong. The conservation areas are often managed by the State as the main management entity, but production forests including commercial plantations are more often than not, about smallholders.
In this interview, Julie Murat, Co-founder of Bridge for Billions, talks about the importance of turning rural livelihoods into sustainable businesses and how the Lower Mekong incubation platform can support entrepreneurs in the timber sector.
In this video story, the Bokeo teak smallholder farmers show how the Lao PDR government's plantation certificate helps not only in tracing timber origins but also in providing smallholders access to the market in a legally secured and economically viable way.