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2013 Assessment Findings

Indonesia has maintained its efforts to tackle illegal logging since the 2010 assessment. The Indonesian government has taken a number of important steps, including:  the signing of the Indonesia–EU voluntary partnership agreement (VPA); the introduction of national-level mandatory requirements for legality verification; and broader engagement with stakeholders in the sector, which has led, most notably, to civil society having a much greater voice. There have also been important developments in the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, as well as in transparency legislation.

There has also been growing awareness of the issue of illegal logging amongst the private sector. While uptake of voluntary legality verification has recently declined, the area of forest certified as being managed sustainably increased in 2012.

Illegal logging is estimated to have declined in recent years. However, in part, these findings reflect a shift towards plantations and away from natural forest harvesting. Legal ambiguity over the permitting process for forest conversion may mean that levels of illegality are higher than the data suggest.

Implementation and enforcement challenges remain. In particular, progress is hampered by a poorly functioning decentralized governance system, persistent corruption and insufficient transparency of information.

2010 Assessment Findings

Wood-balance analysis completed as part of the 2010 assessment suggested that the illegal log harvest in Indonesia declined by 75% between 2000 and 2006, while trade data discrepancy analysis showed that log smuggling to China fell by 92% between 2004 and 2008. These findings were confirmed by a survey of experts carried out in 2008, in which the majority of respondents agreed that illegal logging had reduced in the preceding years. The most important driver of this reduction was increased enforcement (especially since 2004) against the more readily detectable forms of illegal logging.

In spite of this progress, illegal logging remained a major problem in Indonesia, representing around 40-60% of production. One reason for this was the poor regulatory response of government. Indonesia scored lowest of the five producer countries originally assessed in terms of implementation of necessary laws, regulations and policies. Priority areas for improvement included improving timber tracking systems, information management, transparency, and introducing best practice in illegal logging detection and enforcement.

A number of policy improvements were under way, however, and Indonesia was engaged in formal negotiations with the EU to establish a VPA. The private sector in Indonesia was found to be increasingly responsive to the issue, although starting from a low baseline. The area of production forest independently verified as legal or sustainable had trebled between 2006 and 2009 to 10%, but this was still lower than was the case for Brazil, Cameroon or Malaysia.