In Indonesia, a flawed certification scheme lets illegal loggers raze away

A massive series of seizures of timber from rare tree species has thrown into question the effectiveness of Indonesia’s existing mechanisms to tackle illegal logging.

Officials have in recent months confiscated 422 containers packed with illegally harvested timber from the eastern regions of Papua and Maluku. The latest seizure, in February, comprised 38 containers filled with highly prized merbau, also known as Borneo teak and Moluccan ironwood, from the Aru Islands of Maluku province.

Some of the wood has been traced back to companies certified under the country’s SVLK scheme. That’s the same scheme that the EU relies on to ensure that its imports of Indonesian timber are legally harvested.

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