Greenpeace exposes abuse of Forestry Law and illegal logging in West Papua

Feature story - October 15, 2008
Greenpeace today released evidence of continued illegal logging activities in a suspended logging concession area in Kaimana, West Papua province. In July 2008, Indonesian police arrested senior executives (1) of two logging companies, PT Kaltim Hutama and PT Centrico, for violating the Forestry Law (2) by logging outside of their concessions and in water catchment areas, yet logging operations in these areas continue unabated.

Nabire, Papua province,Indonesia Logs being loaded onto log barge for shipment. Greenpeace today released evidence of continued illegal logging activities in a suspended logging concession area in Kaimana, West Papua province.

"Although these two concessions were suspended several months ago because of permit violations, we now have fresh evidence showing that the illegal operations are continuing, with logs still being loaded onto barges in two big logponds in the Nabire area. Officials from the BPKH Wilayah X (Agency for Planning in Provincial Region X) confirmed that the log ponds were owned by PT Kaltim Hutama and PT Centrico and it was probable that the logs came from their concessions in the Kaimana district, breaching their suspension orders," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner Bustar Maitar.

"The Forestry Law is key to the protection of Indonesia's last remaining intact forests and must be strictly enforced in order for companies to understand that they can no longer operate with impunity", added Maitar.

Greenpeace ship MV Esperanza launched the "Forest for Climate" tour of Indonesia last week in Jayapura to highlight the catastrophic impacts of deforestation in the ancient forests of Indonesia on the global climate, biodiversity loss and forest-dependent people and to campaign for an immediate moratorium on forest conversion.

Last week Greenpeace found massive sago and nipah forest clearing in the area south of Jayapura to make way for large scale palm oil plantations by palm oil giant Sinar Mas. The last remaining pristine forests of Papua are under heavy pressure from the logging and palm oil industries.

"It is crucial that the last remaining intact tracts of Indonesia's forest are protected in order to combat climate change.  This means an immediate moratorium on deforestation and international funding through the United Nations to protect forests for their carbon value (3),"concluded Maitar.

The Esperanza, now en-route from Jayapura to Manokwari in West Papua, will be in Indonesia until 15 November. Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to implement an immediate moratorium on all forest conversion, including expansion of oil palm plantations, industrial logging, and other drivers of deforestation. 

1. PT Kaltim Hutama's Head of Logging Camp and Director, and PT Centrico's Head of Logging Camp were arrested 2. Relevant Forestry Law - law number 41/1999 3. "Forests for Climate" initiative under the UNFCCC. See http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/forests_for_climate_brochure