How Effective is the New EU Timber Regulation in the Fight against Illegal Logging?



On 20 October 2010, a new European Union Regulation was adopted detailing the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market. This landmark legislation aims to eliminate illegal timber from the European markets by introducing ‘due diligence’ requirements and prohibition requirement to place illegal timber on the market. Despite its far-reaching objectives, the decision-making process within the EU has led to significant compromises that could, in the future, hinder the Regulation's effectiveness. This article analyzes controversial provisions of the Regulation, such as the ‘simple prohibition requirement’ and the penalty system, as well as their history. The Regulation is also compared to the Lacey Act in the United States, and differences between these two pieces of legislation and their significance are explained. The author draws preliminary conclusions and poses questions to be taken into account by the Member States before the Regulation enters into force in 2013.