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CSO Workshop: The Use of Timber Traceability Technology to Strengthen Independent Forest Monitoring

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Illegal logging is one of the main causes of deforestation and degradation of forests and peatlands in Indonesia (REDD + National Strategy, 2012). The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) estimated that 486.4 to 629.2 million m3 of timber were illegally logged in Indonesia’s natural forests between 2003 and 2014 (2015). Further, the Commission estimated that Indonesia loss IDR 49.8-66.6 trillion per year as a result of these illegal timber. This figure does not include the loss that the state bear due to environmental damage caused by deforestation and forest degradation and peatland.

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) has implemented a series of law enforcement efforts against illegal logging practices. In addition, KLHK has also developed a Verification and Timber Legality System (SVLK), a market-based instrument to ensure that the timber traded in the market both in and outside Indonesia is legal – meaning that the timber is logged, transported, and sold in accordance with the applicable law. The system is expected to strengthen the state control towards timber traded in the market domestically and internationally.

Timber traceability is the main element in the SVLK. This element enables the authorities (both exporting and importing countries) and customers (both consumers of raw materials and final products made of wood) to check the timber legality traded at any point in the supply chain. Timber traceability can also strengthen the law enforcement against the crime of illegal logging. Timber traceability can assist law enforcement to identify the type of timber species and the location of the origin of the timber, which can prove the legality of the timber. Timber distribution chain from upstream to downstream can also show all actors involved, and not only those in the field. Thus, timber traceability system and SVLK can be an instrument of law enforcement.

To ensure the effectiveness of timber traceability for law enforcement, various innovative technologies can be applied. Barcoding system, an optical marker on wood that can be read by machine and connect the law enforcement agencies with information data system containing the origin of the wood species, is an example and has been used in timber administration system in Indonesia. There is also a wide selection of other technologies, such as analysis on anatomy and timber genetics as well as remote sensing, which can be used by law enforcement agencies to track timber. These technologies can potentially strengthen law enforcement against illegal logging, both as an instrument for enforcement and prevention, but are not yet common in Indonesia to combat illegal logging.

WRI Indonesia organized a workshop on the use of timber traceability technology to strengthen independent forest monitoring on Nov. 14. This workshop aims to:

  1. Introduce various timber tracking technologies
  2. Identify opportunities and challenges of the use of timber tracking technologies in independent forest monitoring
  3. Build an idea to strengthen timber traceability system in Indonesia
Forests

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