Indonesia said this week that it would tighten its forestry laws to rein in illegal logging. Under the new rules, companies will lose their licenses to log in 2003 unless they can prove they are managing forests sustainably. Enviros cheered the change, though it remains to be seen just how the theory will translate into practice. This week’s move follows a policy shift in October, when the government banned some log exports to help slow the pace of logging in the country’s tropical rainforests. The World Bank estimates that Indonesia lost about 3.7 million acres of forest per year from 1985 to 1997; by 2000, the country’s forests had been reduced to 49 million acres, down from 106 million pre-1985.

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