Jakarta Post (2 July 2002) ran a letter reprinted from Koran Tempo about the government’s decision to shut down or reduce the capacity of wood processing companies that lack sufficient legal supply of timber. The author says this is unfair since the government itself is to blame for the fact that companies cannot get enough timber.
The letter misses the most important point. Wood processing industries currently use around 60-70 million cubic meters of wood each year, while Indonesia’s forests can only sustainably produce about one third of that. If that continues the country will soon deplete its resources. This has already happened in Thailand, Nigeria, and the Philippines, which went from being major timber exporters to net importers in just a few decades.