Indonesia's new forest moratorium map improved, say experts

July 13, 2011

The latest version of Indonesia's forest moratorium map is improved over its predecessor, say forestry analysts from Daemeter Consulting.

The map, released by the Ministry of Forestry (MoF), lays out which areas are excluded from logging under Indonesia's two-year moratorium on new concessions. Civil society immediately criticized the initial map, which was published at a scae of 1:19,000,000, making it nearly useless for on-the-ground decision-making. The new "map" actually consists of 291 maps at a scale of 1:250,000.

Philip Wells and Gary Paoli of Daemeter say the new maps specifically include all protected areas and protected forest as part of the moratorium area, although they are not differentiated from areas shown as primary forest. The inclusion of all protected areas may help calm concerns that existing protected areas — especially in Sumatra — might be excluded from the moratorium.

Wells and Paoli were also able to decipher the basis for areas shown as primary forest in the new maps.

"The Primary Forest as shown appears to be forest classified by MoF using 2009 Landsat imagery to map primary minus areas where the MoF has granted forest concessions," they write.

Wells and Paoli add that the concession map used to define areas exempted from the moratorium "appears to be an older version than the concession map used to the original map, with the consequence that some areas previously excluded now appear to be covered by the moratorium."

Indonesia-wide moratorium maps

Map 1613 for Central Kalimantan. Full maps available at appgis.dephut.go.id/appgis/petamoratorium.html

Peatlands remain undefined in the maps, but seem to include all areas of peat estimated to be deeper than 50 cm based on work by Wetlands International minus concessions granted prior to January 1, 2011.

Wells and Paoli note that the new maps remain "inconsistent" with the text of the Presidential Instruction that defined the moratorium.

"The text stipulates production of a map covering all primary forest and peatlands on which new licenses (with defined exemptions) should not be issued and various actions by government institutions should be undertaken to improve management and governance," they write. "By excluding from the moratorium map specified forest concessions, MoF in effect places those concessions outside the scope of enhanced management and governance required by the Presidential Instruction, even though such concession areas may contain primary forest and peatlands."

"Also inconsistent with the PI, the MoF maps protected areas and protected forest as part of the moratorium without differentiating these areas from primary forest outside protected areas. This introduces ambiguity and unnecessary widening to the scope of the moratorium, given that such protected areas are already subject to restrictions in excess of those required by the moratorium."

Wells and Paoli conclude that the higher resolution maps "enable the moratorium to become operational, but would benefit substantially from depicting all peatlands and primary forest explicitly, with protected areas... and concession licenses exempted from the moratorium shown separately." They say a "systematic and transparent review over all areas" would improve planning across forest areas.

Preliminary Observations on the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry Decree SK.323/Menhut-II/2011 and Indicative Maps Concerning the Suspension of New Licenses for Forest and Peatland Utilisation [PDF].

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Indonesia's new forest moratorium map improved, say experts.