Tropical Geography ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (9): 1585-1596.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003546

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Spatial Pattern and Driving Factors of Illegal Logging in China

Zhuo Liu1,2(), Hui Lin1,2(), Ya Tian1,2, Yulin Wang1,2   

  1. 1.School of Geography and Environment, Jiangxi Normal University, Watershed Research, Ministry of education, Nanchang 330022, China
    2.Key Laboratory of Poyang Lake Wetland and, Watershed Research, Ministry of education, Nanchang 330022, China
  • Received:2022-05-30 Revised:2022-07-24 Online:2022-09-05 Published:2022-10-07
  • Contact: Hui Lin;


For a long time, China has been committed to combating illegal logging and trade in forests. Although there are still practical difficulties in the governance of illegal timber trade at home and abroad, it is undeniable that significant progress has been made in curbing illegal logging in domestic forests in recent years. Based on 50,094 criminal first-instance verdicts related to illegal logging crimes in China between 2014 and 2020, we have used a spatial autocorrelation analysis and the Geographical Weighted Regression model to explore the spatial distribution characteristics and driving factors of illegal logging in China. The results show that: (1) There is a high rate of illegal logging to the southeast of the Huhuanyong line in China. It is concentrated mainly in areas with strong forest-resource endowment, relatively low economic development level, low urbanization, a large agricultural population, and low degree of nationalization of forest farms, such as the southeast edge of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau,the Wushan-Xuefeng Mountains, the Nanling-Wuyi Mountains, Dabie Mountain, and Changbai Mountain. In north and northwest China and the economically developed coastal regions, there is little or no evidence of this development trend. (2) Affected by natural, social and economic conditions, there are obvious regional differences in illegal logging characteristics in the above high incidence areas. (3) The spatial autocorrelation of illegal logging in China is strong. The southwest region is the main high-high agglomeration region; the northwest and north China are low-low agglomeration regions; the northeast region and the cities along the Yangtze River are not significant, and the high-high agglomeration trend of the volume of harvested live trees in the southeast region is significant. 4) The spatial distribution pattern and characteristics of illegal logging are formed by multiple driving forces, and different driving factors have different spatial mechanisms. Natural endowment is the necessary and insufficient condition for illegal logging.With the improvement of urbanization and socio-economic development, the occurrence of illegal logging can be effectively suppressed.In conclusion, this study aims to enrich the Environmental Criminology literature, actively exploring criminal geography in relation to environmental crime in China. It also proposes corresponding policy suggestions for the governance and combating of illegal logging. This study has some limitations related to data acquisition and processing; these areas should be strengthened in future research.

Key words: illegal logging, law case quantity, volume of felled standing timber, forest resource endowment, crime geography, China

CLC Number: 

  • D917.3