Illegal logging is another cause of deforestation that affects orangutan habitats. It involves the harvesting, transporting, processing, buying or selling of timber in violation of national laws. Illegal logging exists due to the increasing demand for timber, paper and derivative products and it can be carried out while the forests are being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. Besides the clearing of trees, illegal logging also involves cutting trails and canals to allow deep access into the forest via foot or boat so that the trees can be cleared more easily. This results in increased human access into the forests and higher incidences of illegal hunting as well.
Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of tropical timber, valued at more than $5 billion per year. It is estimated that up to 70% of the timber harvested in Indonesia is from illegal logging. Despite laws put in place to prevent illegal logging, much timber is still exported every year to counties such as Malaysia and Singapore for further processing. This contributes to the removal of orangutan’s natural habitat as the forests continue to shrink. Just as in the situation of palm oil plantations, the laws put in place are not strictly enforced and this results not only in the lost in the country’s revenue but also a great loss in biodiversity and most notably orangutans.