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Institute of

WF Forestry


The European Timber Regulation and its effects

Effects of the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the German Act on Trade of Illegally Harvested Timber (HolzSiG)

Since 2013 the European Timber Regulation prohibits the placement of timber and timber products from illegal sources on the European market. How effective the regulation is implemented in Germany, is analysed by the Thünen Institute. 

Background and Objective

To combat illegal logging and trade with timber and timber products from illegal sources the FLEGT Action Plan (FLEGT = Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) was decided by the EU in 2003.

For implementation of the action plan, the European Timber Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 955/2010, short EUTR) was enacted in 2010. The EUTR prohibits the placement of timber and timber products from illegal sources on the European market. The EUTR went into force on March 3rd 2013 and is transposed into national law by the Act on Trade of Illegally Harvested Timber (Holzhandels-Sicherungs-Gesetz, short HolzSiG) in Germany.

At the Thünen Centre of Competence on the Origin of Timber it is analysed, among others, how effective the EUTR and the HolzSiG are in reducing illegal logging and trade. Additionally, the consequences (advantages and disadvantages) for German market operators are assessed and which effects the regulation has on timber markets.

Though it is also considered whether the different national implementation of the EUTR in the EU member states creates unequal market opportunities.


Furthermore, it is examined how coherently the policy areas of illegal logging, climate policy (REDD +), deforestation-free supply chains, certification and bio-economy are intertwined and whether they form synergies or barriers.

Target Group

National and European policy, market operators and science in the field of illegal logging and timber trade


To answer these questions, market operators surveys, wood market analyses, literature reviews and policy analyses are carried out.

An operator survey has been conducted in 2018, to assess the implementation status of the EUTR by German importing operators, to detect gaps along the implementation process as well as unequalities among market operators.

Data and Methods

A written survey has been conducted in 2018, by randomly selecting 5,100 importing operators from Germany and requesting them to answer structured questionnaires. The sample selection was stratified according to import quantities. The data basis was formed by import declarations at the German customs authority in the first half of 2017, covering 17,130 operators. A response of 540 questionnaires could be analysed.

Our Research Questions

How effective is the EUTR in reducing illegal logging and timber trade?

Are the EUTR’s requirements for market operators realisable, and what are the associated burdens?

What effects result on timber trade / the timber market?

  • Are there any shifts of trading partners (countries, companies) or of products?
  • Are there effects on prices (market advantages/ disadvantages)?

Is the EU policy intertwined coherently? Which differences exist in the national implementation of the EUTR in EU member states laws?

Preliminary Results

The survey revealed that the majority of importing operators in Germany import minor quantities of timber products only and operate outside the timber-related sector.

197 of 540 respondents were not aware of having imported timber or timber products and therefore did not feel addressed as operators subject to the EUTR.

Another 114 operators did not know the EUTR. Thus, 42 % of respondents met the prerequisites of awareness and knowledge. They together cover about 91 % of total import value of imported EUTR-products. Large enterprises, operators from the timber-related sector, importers from risk countries and of semi-finished products were significantly more likely to know the EUTR than others.

28 % of operators had installed a due diligence system. They together cover about 76 % of total import value of EUTR-products. Large enterprises and importers from risk countries had a due diligence system significantly more frequently.

Only one-third of operators complies with the EUTR, mainly driven by a lack of information. However, legally compliant operators cover the majority of the imported timber to Germany.

To increase the level of implementation, access to information for small enterprises outside the timber-related sector would have to be guaranteed.

Links and Downloads

further research of the TI-WF on the topic:

Janzen N, Weimar H (2016) Market coverage of the EUTR - what share of wood imports into the EU is covered by the EUTR? Drewno 59(197), DOI:10.12841/wood.1644-3985.C08.02

Weimar H, Janzen N, Dieter M (2015) Market coverage of wood imports by the EU Timber Regulation. Hamburg: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 63 p, Thünen Working Paper 45, DOI:10.3220/WP1440577266000, PDF Dokument (nicht barrierefrei) 1356 KB

Dieter M, Englert H, Weimar H (2012) Wood from illegal harvesting in EU markets: estimations and open issues. Landbauforsch Appl Agric Forestry Res 62(4):247-254, PDF Dokument 401 KB

Dieter M, Englert H, Weimar H (2012) Holz aus illegalem Einschlag in Deutschland und der EU : Status-Quo-Bericht zum Inkrafttreten des Holzhandels-Sicherungs-Gesetz (Holz-SiG). Holz Zentralbl 137(10):257-259, PDF Dokument (nicht barrierefrei) 3064 KB

Dieter M (2009) Analysis of trade in illegally harvested timber: accounting for trade via third party countries. Forest Pol Econ 11(8):600-607, DOI:10.1016/j.forpol.2009.08.003


Dr. Margret Köthke

+49 40 739 62 308
+49 40 739 62 308


Permanent task 11.2017

More Information

Project status: ongoing

List of Publications

  1. 0

    Köthke M, Weimar H (2022) Handel mit holzbasierten Produkten: Abdeckung durch EUTR und die geplante Nachfolgeverordnung. Hamburg: Thünen-Institut für Waldwirtschaft, 2 p, Project Brief Thünen Inst 2022/39, DOI:10.3220/PB1667295381000

  2. 1

    Köthke M, Weimar H (2022) Trade in wood-based products in the EU27 - wood content and coverage by the current EUTR and the proposed regulation on deforestation-free value chains. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 52 p, Thünen Working Paper 193, DOI:10.3220/WP1655114210000

  3. 2

    Köthke M, Weimar H (2022) Trade in wood-based products: coverage by EUTR and the planned successor regulation. Hamburg: Thünen Institute of Forestry, 2 p, Project Brief Thünen Inst 2022/39a, DOI:10.3220/PB1667295742000

  4. 3

    Bösch M (2021) Institutional quality, economic development and illegal logging: a quantitative cross-national analysis. Eur J Forest Res 140:1049-1064, DOI:10.1007/s10342-021-01382-z

  5. 4

    Köthke M (2020) Auswirkungen der Europäischen Holzhandelsverordnung auf Importeure von Holzerzeugnissen in Deutschland - Design und Ergebnisse einer Befragung. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 62 p, Thünen Working Paper 143, DOI:10.3220/WP1587970140000

  6. 5

    Köthke M (2020) Geringer EUTR-Kenntnisstand unter Marktteilnehmern aus Deutschland : Marktteilnehmer aus dem Holzsektor kannten die EUTR signifikant häufiger. Holz Zentralbl 146(9):180

  7. 6

    Köthke M (2020) Implementation of the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) by German importers. Hamburg: Thünen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics, 1 p, Project Brief Thünen Inst 2020/07a, DOI:10.3220/PB1581587284000

  8. 7

    Köthke M (2020) Implementation of the European Timber Regulation by German importing operators: An empirical investigation. Forest Pol Econ 111:102028, DOI:10.1016/j.forpol.2019.102028

  9. 8

    Köthke M (2020) Umsetzung der Europäischen Holzhandelsverordnung (EUTR) durch deutsche Importeure. Hamburg: Thünen-Institut für Internationale Waldwirtschaft und Forstökonomie, 1 p, Project Brief Thünen Inst 2020/07, DOI:10.3220/PB1581587251000

  10. 9

    Welling M, Koch G, Schröder H, Bick U, Köthke M (2018) Holz und Holzprodukte legal handeln : das Kompetenzzentrum Holzherkünfte ; ein Leitfaden zur Holzartenbestimmung und Herkunftskontrolle ; Ratgeber. Hamburg: Thünen-Kompetenzzentrum Holzherkünfte, 31 p

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