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US, Indonesia sign pact to fight illegal logging WASHINGTON (UNITED STATES) - The United States has signed a pact to help stop illegal logging in Indonesia, home to most of the world's orangutans and many other endangered species, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said on Friday. "A core part of our international trade agenda must be combating illegal trade, including protecting endangered species," U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said in a statement. "The United States and Indonesia are partnering to combat illegal logging and the trade associated with it."

Schwab signed the agreement with Indonesian Minister of Trade Mari E. Pangestu and Minister of Forestry M.S. Kaban on Thursday in Hanoi, which is hosting this year's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The agreement sets out a plan for United States and Indonesia to share information on illegal lumber trade, including the manufactured products driving demand for the wood, and cooperate on law enforcement.

The United States has committed an initial $1 million to fund supporting projects, such as remote sensing of illegal logging activities and working with conservation groups and others to stop illegal timber harvests. About 70 to 80 percent of logging in Indonesia is done illegally on public lands, the World Bank said in a recent report. Inadequate law enforcement and the ruthless methods of the loggers are part of the problem. "There have been numerous cases where forest police, park rangers and and members of NGOs have have been injured or killed for attempting to suppress illegal timber theft," the World Bank report said.

The island of Borneo, which is shared by Indonesia and Malaysia, is home to more than three-quarters of the world's remaining 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans, which once numbered in the hundreds of thousands across Southeast Asia, according to Orangutan Foundation International. An estimated 7,000 to 7,500 orangutans living on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have been identified as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union. Illegal logging, mining and forest fires have been rapidly destroying orangutan habitat.


Link to related event Related event:
Forest fires

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Posted in Environment @ 18 November 2006 02:54 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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