Timber theft has been taking the spotlight in recent news with almost no definitive solution for the crime. The illegal logging industry is increasing, leaving victims with billions of dollars worth of missing timber worldwide. It is also the leading cause of deforestation, affecting the eco systems and natural habitats of endangered species in many countries across the globe. Spraying the logs, taking records of stocks, immediately applying timber dye to logs, building relationships with the mill – these are only preemptive measures a forester can take to ward off thieves and will not stop professionals from stealing lumber nor will it put them behind bars. Suggested theft prevention measures until now, unfortunately, have proven to be ineffective in actually catching the thieves in action. Those days are now over. One logging company with an ongoing timber theft problem sought for an effective theft prevention solution when surveillance efforts failed to stop further theft. They came to ENAiKOON seeking a GPS tracking solution. After just three months, our team of dedicated hardware developers created the new locate-18 GPS tracking device. With its plastic, tube-like housing that fits discreetly into logs, the locate-18’s sole purpose is to stop timber thieves in action. The GPS device alone cannot stop timber theft. ENAiKOON’s complete solution includes an adjustable vibration sensor, a camera, infrared lights, a GPS receiver for localisation, a SIM card for GPRS transmission, a powerful set of batteries, and the use of telematics management software: inViu pro. Here’s how to stop timber theft. First, drill a hole into a log in a felled lumber pile and insert the 20 x 3.5 cm locate-18 with its vibration sensor activated. Make the drill holes invisible by covering them up with previously sawed wooden discs. Then, install cameras with infrared lights in various loading areas. When the tracked log is moved unexpectedly, the GPS tracking device sends an alert to the server and activates the surveillance cameras. This is exactly what the logging company did and just as we suspected, unusual movement of lumber piles were detected just a month after installation. They mounted a locate-18 in every lumber pile and hid security cameras in owl boxes that were hung near their loading areas. When the logs were moved it triggered the cameras which took photos of the theft at the crime scene; this evidence was later used in court to support the case. Knowing the exact GPS coordinates of the moving lumber pile, the logging company found out the logs were taken to the exact same sawmill that the usual shipments went to, concluding that it was an insider job. Turns out, the contracted truck drivers were taking extra loads to the mill. All stolen timber was recovered with the suspects successfully convicted in court. The company has not seen any criminal activity since then. Let’s put an end to illegal logging and timber theft. If you manage a logging company experiencing timber theft, ENAiKOON’s timber theft prevention is your solution. Contact us for a customised solution for your company.
Interpol estimates that around 30% of all the lumber in the global market is illegally sourced. This is caused in part by weak enforcement of laws, corruption of officials, economies lacking in other means of employment and high demand for lumber. Effective March 3rd, 2013, the European Union requires that all wood products being sold in the EU, comprising 35% of the worlds lumber consumption, must be certified to not be illegally sourced. According to their own website, the EU Timber Legislation defines “illegal logging” as “the harvesting of wood in a way that breaches the laws or regulations of the country of harvest” It also requires the seller of the wood in the EU to conduct due diligence in order to verify the legality of their lumber, which at least requires them to show on paper the country of origin, the species, the amount harvested, where it was harvested, address and name of supplier and pertinent governmental documents validating the legality of the timber. Furthermore, the EU now requires risk assessment where the seller of the wood must ensure the legality of the wood with a careful subjective analysis of the possible external risk factors that could be hidden inside the wood that is exported. So, if your wood is sourced from Nigeria or another country characterized with a low-level of governance, then this is another ‘point’ added to the final assessment of risk. Then, if there is a significant level of risk, the wood may not be exported into the EU. Taken in it’s best light, this legislation may be helpful to stop the flow of illegal logging into the EU because the seller of the wood must be able to verify the sourcing of the wood. This creates an extra layer of bureaucracy that makes selling to the EU a little harder for illegal loggers and makes a ‘fast-track’ entry into the EU for foresters practicing sustainable and legal methods of harvesting. The bad things for the sustainable foresters is that they will probably see a rise in the number of timber thefts as thieves will begin stealing their stamped or bar-coded timber because this certified wood can be sold to the EU and fetch the much higher profits than if they sold it to a different market that doesn’t have these laws in effect. A simple solution to these thefts will be increased usage of tracking devices, which is why ENAiKOON has developed the locate-18. This device is fitted into the end of a cord of harvested lumber and immediately detects and notifies when the theft of lumber occurs. This has been tested in the forests of Germany and was able to stop the theft of lumber and trace the whole theft process from wood pile to lumber mill.