Seizures From Illegal Indonesian Loggers Show Deforestation Impact
Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan. With millions of hectares of forests being cleared each year to make way for palm-oil plantations, even illegal loggers are now starting to see the impact of dwindling rainforests in Indonesia.
Unlike previous years when illegal loggers were spotted with top quality wood, the National Police this year have only been able to seize low quality goods during a series of raids conducted between Nov. 8 and Nov. 26.
“The quantity and quality of illegal logging has dropped significantly, but that’s because there isn’t as much forest area,” West Kalimantan police chief Brig. Gen. Unggung Cahyono said.
“We have been conducting a joint operation between the National Police and West Kalimantan Police in terms of enforcement, intelligence, preemptive and preventive measures designed to reduce deforestation and state losses.”
A total of eight suspects were arrested during the operation.
During the operation 6,300 logs of woods were confiscated, but they were mainly under 1 meter in diameter. It is estimated that the logs were worth Rp 1.5 billion to Rp 2.5 billion ($165,000 to $275,000).
The dwindling rate of illegal logging seems to confirm earlier estimates from the Indonesian Forestry Ministry that there is now less forest to log.
Indonesia had been losing 3.5 million hectares of forest per year since 2003, but this number was reduced to 1.1 million hectares in 2009 and 700,000 hectares in 2010.
Despite government efforts, Indonesia still has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, according to a survey released by British risk analysis and mapping firm Maplecroft last week.
Indonesia ranked second after Nigeria in terms of deforestation rate among the 180 countries surveyed.