Indonesian politician gets 14 years for illegal logging permits

The former governor of Riau Province in Sumatra, Indonesia has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for issuing illegal logging permits.  The Riau region has suffered catastrophic forest loss over the last decade.

  Legal?  Forest clearing by APRIL in Sumatra (photo by William Laurance)

Legal?  Forest clearing by APRIL in Sumatra (photo by William Laurance)

An anti-corruption court in Sumatra found former Governor Rusli Zainai guilty of embezzlement in relation to the logging permits and several construction projects.

The illegal permits were issued to subsidiaries of APP (Asian Pulp & Paper) and APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Limited), two major producers of wood pulp in Sumatra.  The two mega-corporations have logged and cleared several million hectares of native rainforest for their pulp plantations.

After years of being vilified internationally, both APP and APRIL now claim to be cleaning up their acts environmentally, bringing in 'no deforestation' policies (see our blog below). 

  Predatory...   Rainforest timber stockpiled outside APRIL's Riau woodpulp plant (photo by William Laurance)

Predatory...   Rainforest timber stockpiled outside APRIL's Riau woodpulp plant (photo by William Laurance)

At least initially, APP appears to be passing muster, but the jury is still out on APRIL.

Some, however, believe the corporations are getting off too lightly, and along with crooked politicians should also be facing prosecution for their recent legacy of corruption and predatory behavior.