JAKARTA — Illegal loggers in Indonesia’s remote Papua region have largely evaded any meaningful kind of punishment and continue to operate unimpeded, in what a new report calls a failure by the country’s legal system to crack down on the problem. That’s the finding of a forensic analysis of enforcement actions and court cases between 2018 and 2020 by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and its Indonesian partner, Kaoem Telapak. The two NGOs looked at instances of companies and company directors prosecuted for trading illegal timber, mostly the prized tropical hardwood merbau, in Papua, in Indonesia’s far east. Merbau (Intsia bijuga), also known as Pacific teak, is threatened with extinction in the region as a result of high volumes of exports to China, where it is sought after for use in flooring, furniture and musical instruments. An estimated 50% of merbau timber exports go to China. One of the Indonesian companies in that supply chain, according to the EIA/Kaoem Telapak report, is PT Bahtera Setia. The company received merbau timber from 25 companies in Papua and the neighboring Maluku region, according to the NGOs; nine of those suppliers were caught up in law enforcement actions in 2018 and 2019. PT Bahtera Setia, in turn, sold merbau to 49 companies in the cities of Surabaya and Gresik on Indonesia’s main island of Java. EIA and Kaoem Telapak say they shared this finding with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s law enforcement division, but no apparent action was taken against the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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