Jayapura, Jubi – Jayapura, Keerom and Sarmi regencies which are covered by forests with easy land access, have becoming “favorites” among timber thieves or illegal loggers.
Hundreds of cubic meters of illegal logs seized by the police or related authorities of the three regencies every year have become evidence of the proliferation of illegal logging in these regencies.
Papua Police Spokesperson Senior Police Commissionaire Patrige Renwarin said the police already dealt with five cases of illegal logging within this year, average 25 cubic for a case. “So, the police have arrested about 100 cubic of logs. It’s merely the cases founded in Keerom and Jayapura. While in Sarmi, the police recently arrested 25 cubic of logs several days ago, but it couldn’t be named illegal because it’s still under investigation,” Renwarin told Jubi on last weekend.
Renwarin, who served as Sarmi Police Chief for about two years said not all timbers of Sarmi forest could be taken. The timber thieves usually pursue specific woods as target. Especially for Sarmi, they mostly took the Merbau woods at the border of Sarmi and Jayapura regencies.
“Sometimes, the timbers from Jayapura area were suspected coming from Sarmi. It’s happened due to easy access of land transportation between two regencies, including the access road from the forest area to the main road has made the illegal logging perpetrators could take those illegal timbers without any problem,” he said.
He further said the similar situation was also happening in Keerom Regency, in which the access of land transportation could connect Jayapura Municipality and Jayapura Regency to accommodate the timber thieves in distributing their loots out of Keerom Regency.
“I think it’s the same. But it’s not sure whether those logs founded were came from the forest area surrounded Keerom Regency, or taken from the forest area in Jayapura Regency, because the two regencies are neighboring. It could be said that Keerom Regency still has 70 percent of forest area. The illegal logging perpetrators used to take benefit on this situation,” he said.
When he was Sarmi Police Chief, he further said, there’s only one company that has Forest Tenure (HPH) permit and several companies have Limited Production Forest (HPT) permit. “But I forget the company’s name having the HPH permit while others obtained HPT permit only or under the HPH holder company. Those companies managed the forest production partially. But I think most of them might be not operated. When I was Sarmi Police Chief, the illegal logging at that region is not too crowded. If I was not mistaken, for two years of my assignment in Sarmi, there was one case of illegal logging. But I do not up dated with the current situation. It’s different now,” he said.
Papua Representative Council has also highlighted the rise of illegal logging in Papua by forming a Special Committee on Illegal Logging to collect data related to illegal logging activities. “Special Committee on Illegal Logging of Papua Representative Council will handle the rising cases of illegal logging in Papua. It couldn’t be ignore, because despite damaging the forest, it also harms the regency and customary community,” said a member of Papua Representative Council, Emus Gwijangge, few weeks ago. (Arjuna Pademme/rom)