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Jakarta Post

Illegal logging threatens East Java forest. Villagers seek other income to protect it.

  • Kharishar Kahfi, Wahyoe Boediwardhana and Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jember and Banyuwangi, East Java   /   Mon, March 8, 2021   /  10:06 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Sutarto, 43, (left) checks on tree seeds at a seedling nursery in Sanenrejo village, Jember regency, East Java on Feb. 15. He and several villagers have been working to replant trees in the deforested area of Meru Betiri National Park in the province.(JP/Wahyoe Boediwardhana)

Once a lush and green location for a pilot project in reducing forest degradation, the Meru Betiri National Park in East Java faces the dire threat of deforestation, mostly from illegal logging and encroachment by people living in the region. But hope has started to rise in the region, as villagers and local authorities begin to work together at creating alternative sources of income to prevent further destruction of one of the last tropical rainforests on the country’s most populous island. Sutinggal, 40, had been working as an illegal logger since 1999. He used to walk into a nearby part of Meru Betiri forest in Sanenrejo village, Tempurejo district, Jember regency to cut down trees and sell them to traders.  What Sutinggal did was illegal as the government had declared the 50,000-hectare forest spanning across two regencies of Jember and Banyuwangi a protected area...