The Lower Mekong basin is of global significance, boasting an incredibly high diversity of forest habitats. These forests are home not only to diverse and rare wildlife but are also relied upon by many communities for essential products and services. However, forest crimes, such as illegal logging and trade and the illegal conversion of forest land are pervasive across the region. There is a growing trend of investments from the expanding economies of China, Thailand and Viet Nam, to timber production and land intensive industries in the lower-income, higher forest cover countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar. Given the gap in global supply and demand of wood products is expected to widen significantly by 2050, growth in supply from the region is also predicted to increase, adding further pressure on already stressed forest resources. It is critical to reverse this trend and support the expansion of a responsible and legal timber trade. This will help tackle forest crime, while also reducing poverty across the region.
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