Bulldozers tear through the forests of tropical Asia, wreaking havoc on soil, trees, the long-term
profitability of timber companies and, ultimately,the global climate. But in the forests of Borneo, former illegal loggers operate a ‘monocable’ winch that pullslogs through the forest with minimal damage. This same winch, as it turns out, is also pulling forest concessions down the road toward sustainable forest certification.

“Improved forest management saves companies money while reducing negative impacts on the environment,” says Art Klassen of the Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF). “The business logic of this can be an important first step for companies to seek timber certification.”

World demand for timber from the tropical forests of Asia and the Pacific is growing rapidly. Halting logging in places such as Borneo and New Guinea is simply not an option. In this environment, conservationists have turned from a strict focus on protected areas to improving the management of timber producing forests. This work is being helped by new laws in major wood consuming countries that prohibit the import of furniture, flooring or any product made from wood that was illegally harvested in its home country. More and more players in the timber industry – from furniture stores to factories – are requiring assurances of legality and sustainability from their suppliers.