Improving Indonesia's timber legality and sustainability verification system: Proposals based on case studies of natural forest-, corporate tree plantation- and smallholder-based value chains

Depi Susilawati, Peter Kanowski

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    All Indonesian wood value chains are regulated by a national Timber Legality and Sustainability Verification System (SVLK), based on timber legality and forest sustainability standards. We draw on three prior case studies, of natural forest-, corporate plantation-, and smallholder- based wood products value chains, to investigate SVLK architecture, implementation and compliance; and on regulatory theory to interpret these results and suggest how SVLK might be improved. Case study results demonstrate that SVLK has fostered legality and sustainability compliance in the natural forest- and corporate plantation-based value chains dominated by large-scale actors, but not in the smallholder-based chain in which the majority of actors are also small-scale. Results also reveal problematic elements of SVLK related to the roles of both large- and small- scale actors, legality and sustainability standards, a fragmented wood traceability system, inadequate independent monitoring and witness auditing, ineffective compliance mechanisms, and small-scale actors. Recent revisions of SVLK have not addressed these limitations, and we propose improvements: revisiting national legality and sustainability standards, placing more emphasis on field performance in sustainability assessments, limiting auditors’ flexibility, integrating all online wood systems and limiting access to only SVLK-verified actors, adopting a product classification, and increasing resources for and the frequency of witness audit and independent monitoring. Stronger cooperation between responsible Ministries and agencies is necessary to improve compliance. SVLK could learn from and cooperate with voluntary certification systems to develop more ‘joined up’ timber legality and forest governance regimes in Indonesia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)384-395pp
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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