Rogue Traders – The Black Merbau Smuggling Business in Indonesia

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The Indonesian government has made significant progress in combating illegal logging since 2005. Although the amount of illegal wood flowing out of Indonesia during the first half of the decade has declined, effective law enforcement of the responsible parties, namely the funders, corporate leaders and corrupt officials, are still very alarming.

It is not surprising that the Indonesian President has ordered the Legal Mafia Eradication Task Force to examine cases of illegal logging. The task force needs to focus attention on the two names of merbau smugglers mentioned in this report, namely Ricky Gunawan and Hengky Gosal.

Pembalakan liar dan perdagangan ilegal kayu merbau di Indonesia adalah Illegal logging and illegal trade of merbau in Indonesia is a sign of widespread failure in law enforcement and governance in the forestry sector as a whole. From the traces of valuable natural forest management in Papua to the failure of institutions such as the state-owned inspection body Sucofindo and the Forestry Industry Revitalization Agency (BRIK) to prevent violations of the prohibition on logging and sawn timber, it is clear that there is a need for a more effective monitoring system if action the eradication of illegal logging will be increased.

Fortunately, opportunities to develop appropriate systems to achieve this goal are available in the new Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK). Ministry of Forestry regulations have the potential – if fully implemented – to bring about transparency and appropriate regulation in Indonesia’s corrupt and unclear forestry sector.

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