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Beautiful sunrise on Mekong river, border of Thailand and Laos, NongKhai province,Thailand.
Projects

Sustainable forest trade in the lower Mekong region

 

Hot off the press:  Data and Tools Platform for Trend Monitoring

 

Forest monitoring is crucial to gauging the impact of policy actions and ecosystem changes. 

Check out our new platform featuring global and regional data and tools to support trend monitoring, particularly in Lower Mekong Region forests.

 

 

 

 

2021 Updates


We invite you to read eight stories that highlight some key milestones and learnings from the UN-REDD Lower Mekong initiative in 2021, as well as insights into 2022. 

 

 

 

 

About

Across Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, surging global and regional demand for timber, forest products, and agricultural products are mounting the pressure on forests and land resources in the region.

The UN-REDD Programme supports countries in the Lower Mekong Basin and China to strengthen their forest governance, and to ensure that trading of wood products is legal and sustainable. 

 

By 2050, the gap between global supply and demand of wood products will have increased significantly, estimates say, pushing source areas to extract more wood. This will only add more pressure on already scarce and degraded forest resources.

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Forests are under pressure

Forests are under pressure

Illegal logging and conversion of forest land have become widespread across the Lower Mekong Region.

Yet only a small fraction of reported violations are investigated, and even a smaller proportion get prosecuted. The ongoing loss of forest cover threatens the region’s ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, water and soil conservation, and flood risk reduction.

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Forest loss

Forest loss

Between 1990-2015, the region lost about 4.7 million ha of forests. Illegal logging, mining, forest fires, infrastructure, and commodity crops have been some of the biggest drivers of forest loss and degradation, threatening local ecosystems and livelihoods. Often these drivers reinforce each other, leading to even more forest loss.

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Demand for wood

Demand wood

Regional investments and trade are often the main triggers of forest degradation and deforestation in the Lower Mekong Basin.

Across the region, wood processing and export have grown fast in several countries. Thailand is a major timber processing hub. Vietnam is now the second-largest exporter of wooden furniture in Asia and the Pacific and the 5th exporter globally. China is the world’s largest exporter of wooden furniture.

Yet their lack of enough domestic wood to supply their industries has led to a rise in trading stolen forest products, extracted illegally from forest-rich Lao PDF, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

UN-REDD works to promote sustainable trade of forest products in the lower Mekong region

The Sustainable Forest Trade in the Lower Mekong Region Programme is working with key institutions across the five LMR countries and China to strengthen forest governance and the systems designed to ensure legal and sustainable trade in timber.

The project supports countries to create standards and systems that can effectively and sustainably regulate forest products’ trade in the LMR and reduce the share of illegal, unsustainable products in regional and international value chains.

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Building back resilient societies by investing in forests

Finding solutions

Fighting illegal logging and trade calls for effective governance systems. They will not only improve law enforcement, but also support transparent tracking and proof of legal and sustainable timber production, processing, and trade.

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Beautiful sunrise on Mekong river, border of Thailand and Laos, NongKhai province,Thailand.

Tracking wood products

Wood-exporting countries and businesses relying on forest wood products increasingly recognize that their supply chains must use only legal and/or sustainable sources of wood. Key importing countries now ask for proof of legality and/or sustainability. This means that wood export hubs depend more and more on meeting higher standards of legal and sustainable forest use.

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Ms. Daw Khin Lay, 58 harvests bamboo from the Ngalike forest that borders her home. She says that forest clearing over the years has led to less biodiversity and animals (tigers and elephants) and there are less bamboo shoots to harvest than in the past. September 14, 2019.

Promoting responsible investments

Investing in wood-related products and industries must abide by the law and support sustainable trade. Understanding regional trade and investments in raw wood and forest products, as well as regional cooperation are critical to turning around illegal forest exploitation and to boost financial support for sustainable projects.

Project results

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Stronger regional cooperation supports legal, sustainable forest-products trade across the Lower Mekong Region and China

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Improved forest governance ensures legal and sustainable production of forest related products.

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Improved monitoring of forest and land use due to better data accessibility and management

Our partners

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National Governments

Forest Administrations, Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, Ministries of Planning, and others. The programme will promote dialogue, coordinated policies, and boost dialogue and cooperation between LMR countries and China.

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Private and public companies

All companies along wood products supply chains, from harvesting all the way to processing and sellers, plus actors in the finance sector. Forest related companies will be critical to ultimately drive the change needed.

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Forest-dependent communities

Improvements in forest governance will lead to more secure, transparent, and consistent tenure and use rights, and will also provide opportunities for local communities to engage in forest product value chains for livelihood improvement. The project partners with RECOFTC (The Centre for People and Forests) at regional level.

Publications

National reports