Indonesia continues to suffer from massive amounts of illegal
logging. The Indonesian government is asking for help in curbing
the problem. Let's hope that it comes in time to preserve some of their
amazing biological and cultural diversity.


Martin Stephan
Rainforest Action Network


Indonesia admits damage to forests from illegal logging

Friday, February 07, 2003
By Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A large portion of Indonesia's forests have been
damaged through illegal logging, and other nations must tighten controls to
stop importing this wood, a Cabinet minister said Thursday.

"Total losses from illegal logging in Indonesia amount to US$600 million per
year, which is equivalent to four times the annual government budget for the
forestry sector," Forestry Minister Muhammad Prakosa said in a statement
issued Thursday.
Until now, illegal logging has gone mostly unchecked in Indonesia, despite
repeated assertions by foreign donors and environmental groups that the
country's virgin rain forest could vanish by 2005.

The Forestry Ministry in Jakarta has agreed, under international pressure,
to impose a nationwide ban after acknowledging that about one-third of
Indonesia's 120 million hectares of forest already has been destroyed. The
ministry said efforts to curb illegal logging have been derailed by corrupt
local authorities, rampant smuggling, and military units that often are
involved in the practice.

Indonesia said it urged other countries attending a meeting in Jakarta last
week not to accept illegally logged timber.
Twelve countries attended the meeting of the Asia Pacific Task Force on
Forest Law Enforcement and Governance in Jakarta, which is sponsored by the
World Bank and the U.S. government. They include Cambodia, Canada, China,
Indonesia, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Philippines, Papua New Guinea,
Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.


Copyright 2003 < The New York Times Company