The issue of illegal logging is justifiably receiving unprecedented political and media attention around the world. A host of governments have made concerned pronouncements and signed declarations and agreements to tackle the problem. At the same time the media has raised public awareness of the cost of systematic timber theft to local communities and precious forest ecosystems. Yet the global fight against illegal logging is now entering a vital phase when all these fine words coalesce into demonstrable measures to curb the worldwide trade in stolen forest products. So far the prognosis is not good. Many of the political agreements have yet to bear fruit, and there is little evidence of a serious commitment to tackle illegal timber flows. Indonesia is experiencing the worst rate of deforestation in the world, and has been the focus of much of the international political attention paid to illegal logging. Since the late 1990s, EIA/Telapak have been exposing how the illegal logging business is carried out and naming the chief perpetrators. EIA/Telapak have also been advocating stronger controls on import and sale of stolen wood in the consuming countries of Asia, North America and Europe. While the last couple of years have seen a series of high profile seizures of cargo vessels transporting stolen logs in Indonesian waters, prosecutions have targeted the ship’s crews, while the ‘untouchable’ timber bosses directing the destructive trade are never apprehended. Merely prosecuting the transporters of the timber, rather than the true financial beneficiaries of the trade, provides no deterrent. Until the Indonesian government is willing to go after the influential timber bosses making millions of dollars from stealing their country’s natural resources, illegal logging will continue unabated. EIA/Telapak’s analysis shows the inexorable eastward shift of commercial timber theft, as the logging bosses line up to secure a piece of the most lucrative remaining spoils – the dense forests of Papua Province. EIA/Telapak have followed the trail from the remote traditional communities of Papua to the dizzying skyscrapers of Hong Kong and Shanghai. Around 300 000 cubic metres of merbau logs are being smuggled out of Papua every month. This massive theft is being organised by powerful syndicates of brokers and fixers, spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India and China. Most of the valuable merbau timber is destined for the voracious wooden flooring factories clustered south of Shanghai. Every working minute a merbau log stolen from Papua is processed in these factories. The profits from this devastating trade are immense. Local communities in Papua are paid around $11 per cubic metre for merbau logs which are worth around $240 at the point of import in China. All the profits accrue in the hands of a few timber bosses and brokers living the high life in Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong while the people of Papua receive a pittance. Yet it should not be this way. Both China and Indonesia have signed up to a regional Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) declaration, including commitments to curb trade in illegal timber. Both countries have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to counter illegal logging. But when it comes down to actions, it seems neither country has the political will to stop the constant flow of illegal timber moving from Papua to China. The new Indonesian Government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has pledged tough action against corruption and the timber mafia. It is now time to draw a line in the fight against illegal logging. Time to hold the governments that pledge strong actions to account. Time to go after the timber bosses responsible for the destruction. Time for real enforcement cooperation between nations to halt the scourge of illegal logging. The forests of Indonesia and all those dependent on them cannot wait any longer.