Illegal exploitation and subsequent trade in forest products remains an important driver of the Asia Pacific region’s persistently high rates of deforestation and forest degradation, despite significant improvements over the last decade.
The biggest challenge is: how can we feed the world’s growing demand for wood and have healthy forests too? The answer is responsible forestry and trade. Business as usual in the forests of Asia and the Pacific means a rapid degradation of both forest ecology and the benefits derived by people from forests, including the long-term benefits earned by timber companies and governments. But responsible forestry and trade can mean the opposite – sustainability.
The Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade programme (RAFT) has shown that the growing world demand for timber products that are legal, sustainable – and increasingly, low-carbon – can be a powerful engine to manage the forests of Asia and the Pacific without destroying their vulnerable ecologies and the lives of the millions who depend on them.
RAFT brings together a consortium of leading conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy (TNC), WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN), TRAFFIC – the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, TFT (The Forest Trust), the Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF), The Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).