Environment groups return from Central Kalimantan with positive evidence of continuing illegal logging

Feature story - February 10, 2004
Greenpeace has returned to Jakarta having witnessed evidence of illegal logging in Kalimantan in the company of national NGO representatives.

National NGOs WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia, Forest Watch Indonesia and Telapak accompanied the crew of the Rainbow Warrior to witness illegal logging operations in Central Kalimantan. During the last week the organisations have seen evidence of illegal and destructive logging in three locations around Pangkalan Bun, Kuala Pembuang. These locations are all near the Tanjung Puting National Park.

"We are glad that we have been to Kalimantan at the request of our partner NGOs, and are deeply moved to have witnessed more evidence of the destruction of the forests of the Asia-Pacific" said Stephen Campbell of Greenpeace. "But the things that we have seen are just the tip of the iceberg. It is clear that the illegal and destructive logging in Indonesia is the number one environmental issue in this country, and we are going to increase our efforts to pressure governments to act."

On Thursday the groups discovered a bulk carrier, the GREVENO loading with potentially illegal plywood, and called on the Indonesian government to take strong measures to prevent the shipment. The plywood documented onboard the GREVENO comes from the Korindo Mill, located next to the Tanjung Puting National Park. The Indonesian government has found that this mill has used illegal timber in its operations in the past, and is currently making further inquires regarding the legality of the shipment.

"It is difficult to enforce the law when almost every aspect of law enforcement has been cancered by corruption," said Hapsoro of Telapak. "To combat illegal logging is combating corruption. The key- action of law enforcement is timber shipment monitoring, but that's just a start. Serious follow-up actions of any illegal timber transportation must also take place."

"As a tip of an iceberg, illegal logging problems have at least these roots: unfair global timber trade, rampant corruption, and non-participatory approach in forest management. A radical solution is needed, and the Indonesian government has the biggest responsibility to solve these problems. If they fail, they will loose their legitimacy", said Rama Ardana of Forest Watch Indonesia.

Ade Fadli of WALHI/Friends of The Earth Indonesia said, "To solve destructive logging problems, both illegal and legal, we need a change in the natural resources management paradigm. We call on the Indonesian government to recognize communities' right to manage their own natural resources and to impose a logging moratorium. Also we call on consumer country governments not to buy tropical timber."

Greenpeace is highlighting the plight of the world's last remaining ancient forests and the depletion of the oceans in the lead up to the summit for life on earth-the UN meeting of the Convention for Biological Diversity- which is currently taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in February. Greenpeace is urging governments to protect life in all its diversity, indigenous people's rights and cultural variety by providing money for protection of life on land and sea. World governments must also ban large scale industrial activity in all sensitive areas and establish a network of land and marine protected areas with effective law enforcement and management.