illegal logging
World Bank report says that illegal logging generates billions for gangs REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

At least $10-15 billion (£7.5-11 billion) are generated around the world annually through illegal logging, according to a World Bank report.

Despite evidence of illegal logging, most of the forest crimes are undetected or ignored by corrupt government officials, according to a report titled Justice for Forests: Improving Criminal Justice Efforts to Combat Illegal Logging, released by the World Bank on Wednesday.

The forest crimes are also a threat to biodiversity and increase carbon emissions.

The report insists on the need for an effective law enforcement system to find out where the profit money from illegal logging goes just like going after gangster selling drugs or people involved in human trafficking.

"We need to fight organised crime in illegal logging the way we go after gangsters selling drugs or racketeering," said Jean Pesme, Manager of the World Bank Financial Market Integrity team.

The report also insisted that preventive measures have been tried to curb illegal logging but have been insufficient.

"Preventive actions against illegal logging are critical. We also know that they are insufficient,"said Magda Lovei, Sector Manager at the World Bank.

"When implemented, the recommendations of this publication can have a strong deterrent effect that has been missing in many actions taken against illegal loggers," she added.

Although many countries have laws to prosecute people involved in these forest crimes, the report suggests that there needs to be cooperation between international and domestic policy makers, law enforcement authorities and consumers to stop illegal logging.