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Government Chatter Aside, No Letup In Indonesian Deforestation - Guardian

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-04 11:57 AM
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Government Chatter Aside, No Letup In Indonesian Deforestation - Guardian
Late last year more than 200 people were killed and 400 houses destroyed when hundreds of illegally felled trees in the Leseur national park in northern Sumatra crashed down a mountain side, smashing their way into the town of Gunung Leseur. The "natural" disaster was a direct result of the rampant illegal forestry in the national park, which can expect to have few trees left within a few years. The situation is so serious that the UN fears most of Indonesia will be treeless within a generation.

Every month several ships loaded with thousands of tonnes of the cheap Indonesian plywood and timber arrive in European ports. Governments and timber merchants are well aware most of the wood has been illegally felled, but no action has been taken to stop the trade. The Indonesian government is also concerned that cutting back on timber permits has not been effective. Last year the environment minister, Nabiel Makarim, admitted he did not know how to combat illegal logging.

In response to international concern, the British and Indonesian governments last year signed a memorandum of understanding under which they agreed to work together on forest law enforcement and to develop an identification method. This is not yet in place.


After exhausting most of Indonesia's primary rainforests, illegal loggers have turned to national parks, and are now threatening indigenous people and wildlife, including the orang-utan. More than 40% of all Indonesia's forests have been felled in the past 50 years. Up to 50% of all tropical plywood in the UK comes from Indonesia, but the British government and several timber importers have been shown to be using illegal timber."

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