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Tue 16 Mar 2004

Battling the Illegal Indonesian timber trade

Category : envt

Habitatnews 2003-26 featured the Illegal Indonesian timber trade last year, and cited sources suggesting that "as much as 70 percent [report below says 90%] of the wood coming out of Indonesia is logged illegally, and much of the rare, valuable hardwood is illegally exported to the United States, Europe, Japan and China. World Bank estimates that uncollected royalties probably equal to the bank's planned annual lending of more than US$500 million to Indonesia."

Four Corners produced an award winning documentary series in 2002 called the Timber Mafia. You can find articles and other resources at teh webpage. In Singapore, Teh Jen Lee wrote about "Indonesia's illegal logging: The S'pore connection" in The New Paper, 21 May 2003.

The problem sounded unsurmountable. In the continued struggle, some drastic action is now being suggested. According to an AP report of 15 Mar 2004, "Indonesia mulls death penalty for illegal loggers".

..."These illegal loggers are environmental terrorists. They steal millions of dollars worth of revenue and destroy the environment," said Fachrir Fathoni, a senior official at the nature conservation directorate at the Forestry Ministry. "We are seriously considering the death penalty. We want to get the big players," he said.

Indonesia loses a huge portion of its tropical forests each year to loggers, with more than 90 percent of the timber cut illegally and sold in Malaysia, China, Japan and Europe. ... Endangered tropical hardwoods such as ramin are illegally cut, sold and manufactured into baby cribs, picture frames, pool cues and other consumer items destined for Western markets. ... President Megawati Sukarnoputri acknowledged that corrupt officials may be accepting huge bribes from illegal loggers. Read More...

Posted at 11:42AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news