Illegal logging – short-term gain, long-term pain
Local people often get caught up in the illegal logging trade, by “renting” their forests to large illegal logging companies or by cutting down the trees themselves. People are initially happy about the money it brings for homes, children’s education and other benefits, but because illegal logging isn’t taxed, the society doesn’t benefit in the long-run and farmland often falls into disrepair.
When the logging is finished and the towns are left without forests, people start to have regrets. Unja Tamambaloh is an ex-illegal logger who sold off 5km2 of his own land in Borneo:
“I regret cutting down all those trees on my land. I used to be able to get wood from the forest to build my home and buildings for my family, and I made coffins from a special type of wood that grew there. But that has all gone now.
“I’m also concerned about the ecological impact of those years. Rivers have become shallow, the water quality has reduced and there are a lot more floods these days because we cut down so many trees.”