Indonesia ends timber legality rule, stoking fears of illegal logging boom

Indonesia ends timber legality rule, stoking fears of illegal logging boom

JAKARTA — Environmental experts have warned of a resurgence in illegal logging in Indonesia after the government declared that wood exports would no longer have to comply with a stringent legality check that took a decade to put in place. Under the new regulation issued by the Ministry of Trade in February, Indonesian timber companies won’t have to obtain export licenses that certify the wood comes from legal sources. The policy scrapping the so-called v-legal (“verified legal”) licenses takes effect May 27. “The black market [for illegally logged timber] is opened up again” with the scrapping of the v-legal license, said Soelthon Gussetya Nanggara, the executive director of the environmental NGO Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI). “There might be greater impacts for our forests, [with] deforestation and illegal logging increasing,” he told Mongabay. The government’s decision follows years of lobbying by furniture producers, who complained that obtaining the v-legal license was costly and time-consuming, and hurt their business. The licensing requirement had been developed over the course of a decade as the integral part of Indonesia’s timber legality verification system, or SVLK, which was first rolled out in 2009. The SVLK system was meant to ensure all parties in the timber supply chain obtain their wood and timber products from sustainably managed forests and conduct their trading operations in accordance with existing laws and regulations. Today, 100% of timber from both natural forest concessions and plantation forest concessions are SVLK-certified, although a small amount of timber from illegally logged areas still…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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