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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid