Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged the world not to encourage illegal logging in Indonesia by purchasing illicit wood products, reports the Jakarta Globe.
Speaking to the reporters during a tree-planting ceremony in Bogor, outside of Jakarta, Yudhoyono said he was pleased to see the world supporting Indonesia’s efforts to reduce deforestation but said that foreign countries should commit to buying only legal timber from Indonesia.
“There are also elements in the world, the syndicates, that are engaged in shady businesses to carry out illegal logging,” he was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe. “Do not benefit from illegal logging [products] from Indonesia.”
Yudhoyono’s comments contrast with a push by industrial forestry advocates to downplay the costs of illegal logging. World Growth International, a U.S.-based advocate for the logging and palm oil industries, maintains that illegal logging is not a major problem, while another U.S. group, the Consumer Alliance for Global Prosperity, is working to undermine certification systems for timber products and the Lacey Act, a law that bars imports of illegally logged wood.
It was not the first time Yudhoyono called for greater restraint in timber-consuming countries. In June this year he asked overseas markets to be vigilant against illicit timber.
“Whenever we sell timber, we take the heat for deforestation. Certainly there are violations everywhere, which is what we’re cracking down on, but the truth is that there are also fences outside the country,” he was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe. “Other countries should stop fencing illegally felled timber.”
Yudhoyono’s remarks comes just days after West Kalimantan Police Chief Brig. Gen. Unggung Cahyono reported a drop in illegal logging in his province. The official attributed the decline to diminishing forest cover, leaving less timber to harvest.
Indonesia is in the midst of a massive tree-planting campaign. The government is aiming to plant a billion trees per year in an effort to slow deforestation and restore the country’s much-degraded forest resources.
He asked foreign countries to bear the same burden.