Tropical forest

ClientEarth launches online legal hub for forest defenders

Lawyers from ClientEarth have launched a new online resource to help forest defenders and managers everywhere have access to the most up to date information about forestry laws.

The free online hub will offer open access to unbiased legal information regarding the forestry sector, with information on forest governance and measures affecting commodities that currently rely on forest clearings, such as palm oil and soy.

Each year deforestation results in a loss of around 18 million acres of forests annually, the equivalent of 27 football fields every minute, and forest protection and management is vital to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown.

In response, the environmental law charity has built the ‘Forest Logbook’ for all users – from lawyers, communities and NGOs to importers, logging operators and regulators – to have access to the most up to date legal information available.

ClientEarth climate and forest programme officer Heather Kingsley said: “With so many laws across different jurisdictions, and different organisations providing resources on forest legality, we saw a need to build a database that centralises everything in one place.

“Forests are under such pressure everywhere, so providing easy, instant access to the most up to date information about vital forestry laws will help to empower anyone working to protect forests.

“From our experience working in west and central Africa with the communities that rely on forests for survival and the lawyers defending them, as well as lawmakers themselves, we’ve found that forest protection and management is most effective where the rule of law is strongest.

“We envisage the Logbook will be a dynamic resource, designed to evolve over time. We encourage users to send us new or updated information that could be added to the logbook, to expand on the information available.”

The Logbook works by linking to resources published by organisations and institutions. These resources are selected based on their impartiality or on their official status.

The online hub currently focuses on resources related to timber legality. In the future, it will be expanded to include more information on non-timber forest-risk commodities, such as palm oil and soy.

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Rohit Tandon

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