Indonesia’s government has pledged US$15m to help fight illegal logging.

The money will finance “Forest Preservation Operation III”, a campaign to tackle illegal loggers on the islands of Papua, Sumatra and Borneo.

Illegal logging is costing the country an estimated US$3bn in lost revenue annually.

Timber barons have been targeting Papua because of forest scarcity on Java and parts of Sumatra.

Smuggling of merbau from Papua to China has been described by environmental groups as the world’s largest logging racket involving a single timber species.