Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Illegal logging in Papua may be decreasing

Indonesia’s Minister of Environment said illegal logging in Papua province is decreasing but more work needs to be done to reduce the illegal timber trade. Rachmat Witoelar told Radio New Zealand International that the international demand for hardwood, particularly kwila, is fuelling environmentally damaging, illegal logging in Papua.

Kwila trees take up to 100 years to grow, are difficult to regenerate and are becoming commercially extinct and Witoelar said it’s hard to keep Papua’s native forests in tact while corrupt loggers still have a market demanding its timber.

“Elements who are corrupt, they deal in this and because there are buyers from outside. So we have to stem both the outflow and the purchase, the market. If we reduce the market then there won’t be any motives for the illegal loggers the perpetrators, to repeat themselves,” he said.

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