News / Asia

Indonesia's Deforestation Moratorium Still on Hold

Deforestation, forest dependent community on the Kampar Peninsula in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia.
Deforestation, forest dependent community on the Kampar Peninsula in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia.

A two-year moratorium on the burning of forest lands in Indonesia, that was supposed to start at the beginning of the year, is still on hold.  The ban is part of a one billion-dollar deal with Norway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that some scientists say are the primary cause of global warming.

Indonesia is the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions.  Deforestation, mostly because of the burning of forests for palm oil farming and mining that currently happens at a rate of 100 million hectors a year, accounts for 50 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 26 percent by 2020.  A two-year moratorium on the development of new forest land, that was supposed to begin back in January, is a key part of Indonesia's environmental initiative and is part of a one billion dollar deal with Norway to protect forests and reduce emissions.

But the ban has been delayed and the task force charged with developing the moratorium is struggling to come up with ways to make environmental gains without causing economic pain.

Nur Masripatin, director of the Center for Standardization and Environment with the Ministry of Forestry, says it is not economically feasible to expect Indonesia to halt development in all rural areas.

“If your country, having 70 percent of your country land is forest and your population keep growing, is it realistic that in the future, 30 years in the future, you expected your forest still [is] 70 percent of the forest area?" she asked.

The task force is working on definitions she says that will help delineate what areas will be affected by the ban.

Green Peace campaigner Yuyun Idradi is skeptical that the moratorium, when it is finally enacted, will have any environmental impact.   He says the ban will only cover new land permits, not existing ones, and that most of the areas to be covered are already designated as protected forests.   He says the whole process is being delayed by corporate lobbying.

"Negotiation is being closed and there is no information at all up to now and we don't know how the new draft and when it is going to be signed," Idradi stated.

Robert Daniel with the Climate Change Unit at the British Embassy in Jakarta says when the ban is enacted, it will not significantly reduce short-term emissions of greenhouse gases.

"What you are talking about is climate change here,” Daniel said. “Very little forest will be protected as a result of the moratorium.  But that is not the point.  As we were saying before, this is a process.  It is a step along the road to reducing deforestation.”

He says the process involves getting businesses to buy into the economic advantages of sustainable development practices.  Daniel says replanting trees in logging areas, increasing productivity in existing palm oil plantations to meet growing demand and developing geothermal energy will bring both economic benefit and reduce emissions, in the long term.

The Forestry Ministry's Masripatin also sees the moratorium as part of a long-term process in managing its natural resources.

"We should not see [the immediate] impact of the moratorium.  This is very important for us to give us time to review how we manage our forestry resources in the past and what will be needed in the future," Masripatin said.

She says it is better to delay enacting the moratorium so as to develop a careful, workable plan, rather than to make a sweeping pronouncement that might damage the economy and be overturned in court.

You May Like

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs