Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Legitimate Companies to Blame for Much Illegal Logging: Expert

As we can see, the EC and British government have been fooled into believing illegal logging was on the decline. They are wrong, wrong, wrong, and have been told and shown this many times. The Indonesian government officials are making the EC and UK bureaucrats look like idiots, which clearly has not been that difficult a task.

I wonder if these same bureaucrats will now accept that FLEGT is ineffective and a waste of taxpayer’s money, or do they want more shame and
disgrace heaped on them?


April 14, 2010
Fidelis E Satriastanti The Jakarta Globe

Legitimate Companies to Blame for Much Illegal Logging: Expert

Successfully breaking up large-scale illegal logging operations will require authorities to re-examine their definition of the crime, an expert on environmental law said on Wednesday.

Law enforcement agencies must focus on legitimate companies that manipulate the law to gain unfair access to forests, rather than individuals chopping down a handful of trees to construct a house or groups of criminals working in the black market, said Rhino Subagyo, executive director of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law.

“Illegal logging operations cannot just be simply translated as people cutting down forests without permission, but must include also companies with permission that chop down trees outside their contracted areas. This can also be considered illegal logging,” Rhino said. “Basically, illegal logging is concerned with legal licenses to chop down trees.”

Furthermore, he said, there was still a lack of monitoring by the government, which allows companies to ignore the harvesting limits dictated by their permits. The result is widespread clear-cutting of forests.

“One of the biggest weaknesses is that we don’t normally do field work to verify and check on those legal companies to see whether they have done their activities in legal ways,” he said, adding that the government should adopt a new methodology to identify illegal logging.

Wirendro Sumargo, executive director of Forest Watch Indonesia, said there has been a shift in defining illegal logging since the massive expansion over the last decade of plantations, especially those devoted to palm oil.

“There has been huge movement over the last 10 years to change forest areas to palm oil plantations, and from what we have been monitoring, deforestation has a significant link to the land use changes,” Wirendro said. “The government should have paid more attention to this shift because they have claimed that the illegal logging rate has decreased. However, the deforestation rate is still high.”

That lack of monitoring, he said, allows many companies to harvest natural timber illegally by applying for permits to grow crops on lands they claim are deforested, but actually contain natural forests with high-quality trees.