What is happening and why
As commercial stands of timber in Sumatra and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) are increasingly exhausted, the logging industry has shifted eastwards to New Guinea.
In PNG, the forest industry makes an important contribution to the country’s economy. The vast majority of timber is produced as raw logs for export - this account for 97% of the value of all exports of forest products, with woodchips covering almost all of the remainder.2
Logging in practice
But the price being paid by the forests is high. In PNG, industrial logging has been the most significant cause of forest loss and degradation for over 2 decades.
Lack of compliance with environmental standards, and inadequate monitoring and control by government regulating agencies are plaguing the sector. According to the World Bank, these practices have caused logging to become completely unsustainable in the country.3
…meanwhile, on the Indonesian side
In Papua Province, vulnerable tree species such as merbau are cut illegally and exported to China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, despite a logging ban imposed in 2001. Most of the merbau timber is destined for factories in China that produce wooden flooring.
A ‘booming’ industry
Against a background of contradicting laws, logging across Papua Province has surged dramatically. According to Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry, over 7 million m3
of timber is smuggled out of Papua annually. This means that 70% of the total volume of timber that leaves each year is illegal.4