Instead of buying illegal wood, we should prevent illegal loggers from destroying the remaining rainforests that function as important climate change buffers by storing carbon, writes William Laurance at the Canberra Times, an Australian newspaper. The 2012 World Bank report, Justice for the Forests, notes that illegal logging is now a massive criminal enterprise, rivalling the illegal drug trade and robbing developing nations of up to $US15 billion in revenues annually. Of the 15 top timber-producing nations in the tropics, two-thirds lose over half of their timber to illegal loggers. In Indonesia, 70-80 per cent of the timber harvest is illegal, according to Interpol and the World Bank. And it’s happening fast. The World Bank is urging authorities to follow the trail of money – tracking down illegal timber barons with the same strategies used to catch drug kingpins and human traffickers. The bank also wants law enforcers to use electronic surveillance, undercover operations and witness protection. It’s the only way, the report concludes, to combat international criminal syndicates. And, to safeguard our carbon storage systems.