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Woodman, Spare that Tree!

Two Men Clearing Trees Blocking a Road Leading to a Balinese Temple, Could Face 10 Years in Prison for Disturbing a Mangrove Forest.

(7/22/2011) Two Balinese men, Heru Kuncoro and Agus, may face up tp 10 years in prison after their arrest for cutting down trees to clear a road leading to a Balinese temple, located within a protected Mangrove preserve.

Beritabali.com reports that two men are on trial for violating conservation laws protecting mangrove forests. The violation occurred on May 31, 2011.

State prosecutor Oka Ariani's indictment read before the Denpasar court tells how the men were arrested by forestry officers while cutting trees near the Ngurah Rai Bypass Highway in Sanur, Bali.

In his defense, Heru told the court he was ordered to cut the trees standing in the mangrove. The trees in question were located on a road leading to a local temple with the local head of the temple requesting the men’s assistance to clean up the access road. The road has been unused for a period of time and sits on a piece of land that is owned by Heru.

Attending as a witness at the trial, Ngurah Gede, a Forestry Enforcement Official, confirmed to the court that the cutting of the trees was in violation of the law. Said Ngurah Gede, “they cut down the trees without the permission of the Forestry Ministry.”

The court, if it finds the men guilty, it can punish the two with up to 10 years in prison.