Tropical timber markets at a crossroad

11 November 2009



Flip van Helden explaining the  
EU’s FLEGT initiative
Photo: K. Sato (ITTO)


Poor conditions prevailing in many of the world’s timber markets were highlighted by speakers at the International Tropical Timber Council’s annual market discussion, held November 11th, during its 45th Session.
The Council is the governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). It meets at least once a year to discuss a wide-ranging agenda aimed at promoting sustainable tropical forest management and the trade of sustainably produced tropical timber. 
The market discussion included buyer’s perspectives from the UK, Europe, China, India, Japan and the USA. Almost all speakers highlighted the impacts on markets of the recent economic crisis. Another common theme was declining market share for tropical timber in many markets, led by substitution and technological advances that allow lower quality timbers to replace tropical wood in many end-uses. Presentations from the market discussion are available to download below, along with the list of speakers. 
A special event following the market discussion focused on recent policy developments in the EU and US markets for timber and timber products. The current status of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative was presented, followed by a presentation on US efforts to combat illegal logging and associated trade (including recent amendments to the Lacey Act). These presentations were followed by information on capacity building initiatives and other support for tropical countries to promote legal and sustainable timber trade offered by ITTO, FAO, the World Bank and the European Commission. Presentations from the event are available below.