The Indonesian government failed to live up to its promises to reduce fires across the tropical nation last year. Instead a 2009 State Environment Report showed a 59 percent rise of fire hotspots from 19,192 in 2008 to 32,416 last year, as reported by The Jakarta Post.
Officials say land clearing was the primary cause of the fire increase in the tropical nation. Unlike temperate forest, rainforests rarely burn naturally.
“Illegal land clearing with fires by local people in Kalimantan and Sumatra is still rampant,” Heddy Mukna, deputy assistant for forest and land management at the Environment Ministry told The Jakarta Post.
The state of Kalimantan on the island of Borneo saw fires triple in some areas from 2008 to 2009. Haze blanketed much of the island last year during the ‘burning season’.
In 2007 the Indonesian government announced plan to cut forest fires in half to mitigate climate change from 35,279 fires in 2006. The government has since revised that cut to 20 percent rather than 50 percent.
Indonesia is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world behind China and the US. Eighty percent of its 2.3 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions is from rainforest and peatland destruction.
(06/03/2010) Indonesia’s chief economic minister said on Wednesday that the government will not revoke existing forestry licenses to develop natural forests under a billion dollar conservation deal signed last week with Norway.
(05/28/2010) With one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emissions due mostly to forest loss, and with a rich biodiversity that is fighting to survive amid large-scale habitat loss, Indonesia today announced a deal that may be the beginning of stopping forest loss in the Southeast Asian country. Indonesia announced a two year moratorium on granting new concessions of rainforest and peat forest for clearing in Oslo, Norway, however concessions already granted to companies will not be stopped. The announcement came as Indonesia received 1 billion US dollars from Norway to help the country stop deforestation.
(01/24/2010) From 2003-2006, Java lost approximately 2,5000 hectares a year (10,000 hectares of forest in total) according to the Forestry Ministry. Despite the rate of loss being far lower in Java than other Indonesian islands (such as Borneo, Sumatra, and Sulawesi), Java is particularly threatened because there is so little forest left. If the past rate of deforestation occurs from 2007-2010 then by the end of the year conservation organization Pro Fauna predicts only 10,000 hectares of rainforest will remain on the island, leaving a number of unique and endangered species in deep trouble.