Rampant illegal logging in Indonesia is undermining the sustainability and strength of the forest products industry in Indonesia and the United States and thwarting efforts to preserve forests to slow global warming, according to a new report.
The report by the BlueGreen Alliance and several U.S. environmental and labor organizations said that 40 to 55 percent of Indonesia’s timber is harvested illegally, often from protected areas.
Widespread illegal logging in Indonesia and elsewhere has depressed timber prices worldwide, costing the logging, wood, paper and cabinetry industries more than $1 billion in the U.S. alone, the report said.
Illegal logging also is undercutting the production of sustainably produced timber. “Under current conditions, there is no level playing field,” the report says.
In the 1960s, about 82 percent of Indonesia was forested. By 1995, forest cover was reduced to 52 percent. And at the current rate of deforestation, 98 percent of Indonesia’s lowland forests may be destroyed by 2022. The WWF graphic (top, left) illustrates the forest loss in Borneo from 1950 to 2005, with projected forest cover in 2020.
The authors also cite an Indonesian report estimating that logging accounts for 80 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, making Indonesia the world’s third-largest emitter of CO2.
The report says stricter enforcement of logging regulations and increased transparency are critical to stemming illegal logging in Indonesia.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.