Only 11 per cent of hardwood imported into the UK is certified as being legally sourced and procured, it has emerged.
This extraordinary statistic will infuriate campaigners who are determined to stop the use of illegally logged hardwood from rainforests.
Additional statistics show that only 58 per cent of all wood and wood products imported in to the UK are certified, according to a study published recently by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF).
However, according to TTF chief executive John White, the results do not necessarily mean that 89 per cent of tropical hardwood has come from illegal logging.
'The fact that 53 per cent of wood imported into the UK is certified is great news, this is a positive thing not a negative,' said White.
'A decade ago, no wood coming into the UK was certified, so now that more than half is certified it is very encouraging.'
The study also shows that only 9 per cent of the wood being imported into the UK is illegal; however, this figure is open to interpretation.
White admits that there are varying degrees of legality throughout countries exporting tropical hardwood. For example, White says Malaysia has an excellent record for exporting hardwood but other countries could be very bad.
'It's a complex issue, but it is preferable to saying 'don't buy tropical wood', as that will drive people to illegal logging.
'But I am sure you will start to see a sea change, with demand for certified wood increasing dramatically - this is only the beginning,' he added.by Richard Vaughan