Illegal logging on Indonesian island

Issue 

Illegal logging on Indonesian island

On the Indonesian island of Siberut, about 100 km west of Sumatra, all logging concessions were withdrawn and logging was supposed to be stopped half a year ago. But despite the government decision to stop all logging activities on the island, illegal logging is still going on, according to local people.

The Indonesian company Carya Pharmin Pulau Siberut (PT CPPS) continues extracting timber, and the Indonesian authorities have not become involved so far.

According to the locals, the company intends to extract some 7000 cubic metres of timber on the way back to the coast from the now closed concession.

Protests of the affected local people to responsible authorities haven't led to any change. Worse, the local police protect the loggers from the protesting inhabitants. Therefore the locals informed tourists, asking for international support.

The illegally cut wood is being shipped to Padang in Sumatra. There, the company Rimba Sunkyong Plywood processes the wood together with wood coming from Kalimantan and West Irian. Rimba Sunkyong exports directly to Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong.

Because of its biodiversity and relatively untouched rainforest, Siberut has been proposed as a National Biosphere Program (MAB) by UNESCO. In 1993, the Indonesian government finally decided to suspend all four logging concessions on Siberut, stopped the transmigration program (resettlement of families from the main islands to Siberut) and dismissed plans for huge oil palm plantations.

European supporters of the Siberut native people are urging a campaign of letters to the Indonesian president. They recommend that writers welcome the decision to stop the logging, the transmigration program and the plans for oil palm plantations, and request government action to stop immediately the illegal logging.

Letters should be addressed: President Suharto, President of the Republic of Indonesia, Istana Merdeka, Jalan Merdeka Selatan, Jakarta, Indonesia, with copies to: UNESCO / MAB-Secretariat 7, Place de Fontenoy F-75700 Paris, France.

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