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Jakarta Post

Money isn’t everything: Ex-illegal loggers regret cutting down trees

Forty-year-old farmer Sutinggal works to clean wild weed at Meru Betiri National Park in Sanenrejo village, Jember regency, East Java on Feb. 15, 2021. After working as an illegal logger for around 20 years, Sutinggal shift profession to become a farmer and commit to protect the forest from further destruction. (JP/Kharishar Kahfi)
Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Kharishar Kahfi and Tri Indah Oktavianti
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Jember/Banyuwangi   ●   Mon, March 15 2021

One day in June 2006 became a turning point in the life of Suhartono, now 42, a resident of Sanenrejo village in Temporejo district, Jember regency, East Java. Back then, he made a living by cutting down trees illegally in the protected Meru Betiri National Park.

On that particular day, after he had cut down a 20-meter glintungan (bishop wood tree), the log rolled down and fell onto his feet, causing him to drop a running chainsaw he was holding to cut the log.

“The chainsaw fell onto my left calf, tearing the muscle. I was immediately carried by eight other loggers for 2 kilometers out of the forest. Luckily, I received treatment at the Jember Regional General Hospital,” Suhartono told The Jakarta Post in early February.

“On that same day, I uttered my intention to stop stealing trees f...

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