Indonesia 'guilty' of illegal timber trade

The environmental group Greenpeace has documented a "huge trade" in illegal timber in the Indonesian part of Borneo island.

    Hundreds of logs await shipment on river in Borneo

    Greenpeace said its activists witnessed first-hand the extent of illegal logging and timber smuggling during a four-week documentation project at Pangkalan Bun and Kumai in Central Kalimantan province last month.
     
    The evidence collected during the patrol on board of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior included the names of 55 vehicles the group said were involved in the timber smuggling.

    "We found a lot of activity at night, which is the usual time for smuggling," Greenpeace consultant Faith Doherty told a press conference.

    Doherty described the illegal logging Greenpeace witnessed as rampant.

    Togu Manurung, director of Forest Watch Indonesia, said the bulk of the illegal timber went to regional markets such as Japan, China, Vietnam and Malaysia, with a substantial amount of wood products going to the European Union and the United States.

    Deforestation

    Manurung said the deforestation rate in Indonesia now stood at 3.8 million hectares annually.

    Indonesia has already lost about
    65% of its ancient forests

    "There are still no proper enforcement, no real strong political will from the government to solve the problem. We're facing total forest destruction," he said.

    A spokesman for the Telapak environmental group urged the government to follow up on the Greenpeace findings.

    "We're demanding that the Indonesian government act seriously in making sure that the law is enforced ... because all evidence is right in front of them," he said.

    SOURCE: AFP


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