About The Timber Investigation Centre

Over the past few years, new legal tools have emerged to help the fight to protect forests from illegal logging, by stemming the flow of timber into lucrative markets.

Governments in both the EU and US have legislated to prohibit the import of timber that was illegally felled, processed, transported or exported in the country of origin. Companies that fall foul of these laws face criminal sanctions.

In spite of a wealth of information on the scale and nature of illegal logging throughout the tropics and beyond, however, there is insufficient evidence being brought to the attention of enforcement agencies in both the EU and US. This website is aimed at closing this information gap, by providing civil society (NGOs, communities, individual activists, journalists and even the private sector) with extensive guidance and tools to investigate illegal timber and supply chains.

The core of the website is a Guidebook that provides detailed information and instruction on how to carry out such investigations. The Guidebook outlines the cutting-edge techniques for investigating illegal logging at source and tracking illegal wood to end markets, and provides advice on how best to use the evidence collected. The Guidebook and the website also include several Case Studies that demonstrate how investigations have been carried out by NGOs in the recent past, at various stages of the supply chain, to great effect. The website also hosts a range of Resources, including analysis of the applicability of new technologies to these investigations, and contact information for enforcement officials who can act on solid intelligence.

The Guidebook and Timber Investigation Centre have been developed by Earthsight, a UK-based NGO dedicated to investigating and exposing environmental crime and social injustices. Earthsight has considerable experience in investigating the illegal timber trade, and is committing resources to assist others to replicate impactful investigations. In addition to providing the guidance on the Timber Investigation Centre, Earthsight is offering direct, hands-on pro bono assistance to others interested in investigating this crime.

To find out more about what we can offer and to express an interest, visit our Assistance page.

This website and guidebook were produced with financial assistance from the Ford Foundation. The views expressed are entirely those of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the funders.