Although the scientific literature on this topic is extensive, there has been little systematic research analyzing the causes of illegal logging. The study presented here addresses this knowledge gap with a cross-national examination of those factors suspected to be associated with illegal logging.
The logistic regression analysis conducted confirms many widely held assumptions, but also provides some new insights on the factors associated with illegal logging. For example, it is shown that, in addition to geographic characteristics, factors related to institutional quality (such as the degree of rule of law and the presence of corruption) and the economic development of a country are of major importance for illegal logging. Armed conflict is not associated with illegal logging across countries. The results of the study are also of interest for possible improvements to existing policies to combat illegal logging.