Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Pilot project in Indonesia identifies issues for preventing and facing illegal logging

An interesting article published in the August 2014 issue of Conservation Biology, a scholarly journal by Wiley-Blackwell, outlines the findings of a pilot project implemented between 2008 and 2009 by the Government of Indonesia in collaboration with Fauna and Flora International, a UK charity, in the Ulu Masen jungle (Aceh Province - Sumatra) .

The project was initiated by the local institutions to cut the high deforestation rates registered in the country. For this purpose the government introduced in the area a UN REDD+ scheme (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation).
With the assistance of a community-based informant network more than 190 forest offenses were reported to the local law enforcement agencies.  The police intervened with 86 field operations, confiscating illicit vehicles, equipment, and timber, and arresting 138 illegal logging suspects.
From 45 cases subsequently monitored, 64.4% proceeded to court, from which 90.0% of defendants received a prison sentence or a verbal warning for a first offense.
The success of the initiative was strictly related to the authorities' capacity to enforce law when tackling offences.

The multistakeholder results were promising and the achievement of the enforcement of law were positively affected by:
  • Strong political will; 
  • Strong stakeholder support; and 
  • Funding that could be promptly accessed.
However, as illegal logging still persisted at apparently similar levels at the project's end, the experience of this project shows that efforts need to be further strengthened.

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