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Jakarta Post

Govt to abolish auctions of seized illegal logs

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Jepara, Central Java   /   Sat, June 8, 2013   /  01:05 pm

The government has planned to abolish the auction of seized illegal logs as part of efforts to curb illegal logging, an official with the Forestry Ministry has said.

'€œIn the future there will be no more auction of seized illegal logs because they have been used for laundering logs with unclear origins,'€ director of the ministry'€™s forest product marketing and processing supervision, Dwi Sudharto, told reporters in Jepara earlier this week.

Dwi was in the town with Trade Ministry foreign trade director general Bachrul Chairi to give log legality certificates to four small and medium scale furniture industries. They were CV Mahagony Crafter, CV Tita International, CV Mebel Jati Jepara, all from Jepara, and the multi businesses cooperatives (KSU) of the Association of Indonesian Crafts Development (Apikri) from Yogyakarta.

The certificates assure that the four industries have operational systems that guarantee the legality of the origins of the logs, starting from the logging in the forest until they are in their respective hands.

'€œThe House of Representatives is discussing the bill on illegal logging that will ban log auctions. Hopefully, it will be finalized soon,'€ Dwi said.

He expressed hope that with the approval of the bill, all seized illegal logs would be destroyed together with the ships transporting them. This is expected to have a chilling effect on brokers.

What happens currently is seized illegal logs usually go back to the brokers, who can sell them to the industries in need of the logs. '€œIllegal log auctions also confuse the legality verification and certification system (SVLK),'€ Dwi said.

Over the last few years the Forestry Ministry together with the Multistakeholder Forest Program (MFP) and the Biodiversity Foundation (KEHATI) have developed a log legality verification system for log-based industries from the upper stream to the downstream.

Effective from 2013, the system is applied to help control illegal logging, preserve the forests and help Indonesian logs enter the international log market, which requires legality of wood and its processed products.

Dwi said that up to the present, 68 HPH (production forest concessions), 26 HTI (industrial forest permits) and 499 wood industries had received SVLK that had been acknowledged internationally. He said that on July 13, 2013 Indonesia would sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the European Union (EU) on the matter.

Separately, Bachrul Chairi said that world trade had closed itself from wood and wood products whose legality was unclear. EU, for example, has applied EU Timber Regulation, the US has the Amendment Lacey Act, Australia applies the Prohibition Act and Japan has the Green Konyuho or Goho Wood.

'€œIndonesia is the only country that has a wood legality system like SVLK,'€ Bachrul said.

He said that with the system, Indonesia had the opportunity to take the market share and beat its competitors, such as Malaysia, China and Vietnam, which had no such system.

'€œSince the SVLK has been applied, there has been an increase in our wood exports,'€ Bachrul said.

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