TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - During a road trip from Wamena, Jayawijaya Regency, to Karubaga District, Tolikara Regency in Papua, Tempo witnessed how local residents cut down forests and sold timbers and wood illegally on the side of the road. One meter cubic of timber is sold for Rp. 5.2 million.
Most of these woods and timbers were bought also by local residents. Expensive bricks and cement had urged residents to shift to using woods as their primary building material. In Papua, one sack of cement could cost up to one million Rupiah.
Tempo even witnessed first-hand how Nico Hisage, the 39 years-old driver of the double-cabin pickup truck that transported the Tempo team, acted as one of the illegal wood fencers.
"Madam, you must accompany me to pickup wood on the edge of the forest. Because you’re the only one I had transported from Tolikara, so we can use the flatbed," Nico said.
As the truck pulled up on the side of the road alongside a pile of wood, Nico jumped down and shouted. Minutes later, a man came and help Nico load the wood onto the truck. "That’s everything, take all of it," the man said.