The Environmental Crime Crisis

The special challenge of illegal trade in wood­ fuel and charcoal Official estimates by the FAO suggest that just under half of tropical wood consumption in Asia (range 36–98%), and in Latin America (range 8–85%) is used for woodfuel. 140 The remaining half in both regions is divided into sawnwood and pulp for the paper industry, and other products. Charcoal and pulp are particularly subject to exploitation by criminals. In Africa 90% of wood consumed is estimated used for woodfuel and charcoal (East Africa 94%, North Africa 96%, Central Africa 87%, South Africa 49%, West Africa 92%). 141 In Asia woodfuel is 70% of all wood, and in the world 53%. 142 Africa has an official charcoal production of 30.6 million tons in 2012, worth approximately USD 6.1–24.5 billion annually at the point of sale. 143 The total export number for Africa is only 1.4 percent of production. 144 Such a low figure is unrealistically small, considering the key impor- tance of charcoal in African local energy consumption, and its related widespread trade. The relative export percentages of other products indicate how unusually small the official charcoal export figures are. Industrial roundwood export is 5% of production, sawnwood is 28%, and paper and pulp combined is 16%. Indeed, the official exports of charcoal from most African countries amount only to a few truck- loads annually cross-border. Kenyan Police Corporal celebrated by Kenyan Forest Service and Kenyan Wildlife Service for integrity and services to conservation Corporal David Chumo is a police officer at Ntulele Police Station in Narok County, Kenya, who has declined repeated offers of bribes from traffickers of wildlife and charcoal. Chumo has instead of taking bribes made a series of arrests for wildlife and forest crimes. Chumo’s arrests include that of a trafficker carrying 840 kg of giraffe meat in January 2013; a charcoal transport in July 2013; and five people ferrying charcoal in September 2013. These arrests came after Kenya Wildlife Service celebrated Chumo for turning down a bribe and instead arresting a trafficker of 6 tons of giraffe meat from the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Personally passionate about the disappearance of clean water and environmental degradation’s effect in its own right, and negative impact on tourism, Chumo wants to be an example to inspire others: “I want to leave a legacy of patriotism in the force. I want to hear that people want to emulate me. This is what gives me the passion.”

Population growth in Sub-Saharan and Central Africa Millions

2 000


Projected year for double the 2010 population

Sub-Saharan Africa

1 500

1 000


Central Africa


2000 2010





Figure 13: Current population projections by UN’s Population Division suggest an increase from the current ca. 0.9 billion to 2.1 billion people by 2050 in Sub-Saharan Africa. The UN further estimates the urbanization for Sub-Saharan Africa, currently at 38 percent, to increase to 56.5 percent in 2050. 16 April 2014


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