Project LEAF Takes Aim at Illegal Logging
Interpol has teamed up with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to launch Project LEAF (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests), an initiative dedicated to combating forestry crime, illegal logging and timber trafficking that was launched on World Environment Day.
Project LEAF, which is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), is an innovative, international response representing the first time that organizations of this stature have joined forces against this organized, sophisticated and trans-national crime.
Nearly 1.6 billion people – more than a quarter of the world’s population – rely on forests for their fuel, food, and medicines, along with the great apes and other wildlife that inhabit those areas. But sophisticated syndicates are illegally extracting the world timber from forests in Asia, Africa and South America at a devastating pace.
Corruption, violence and even murder tied to illegal logging can also affect a country’s stability and security.
Rainforests in Asia that are home to orangutans and African forests that host chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos are some of the most heavily harvested regions of all.