Bureaucratic confusion has led Indonesia to delay implementation of its two-year moratorium on new logging and plantation concessions in forest areas and peatlands, reports the Jakarta Globe.
The moratorium, which was agreed last May under Norway’s billion dollar forest conservation pact with Indonesia, was scheduled to begin January 1. It is now unclear when the forest conversion ban would be enacted.
The hold up is apparently due to confusion over which of two presidential decrees on the moratorium to enact. One was submitted by the Ministry of Forestry, the other was drafted by the national REDD+ Task Force. The latter draft is more explicit in laying out which permits will no longer be issued, according to the Jakarta Globe, which reviewed both documents.
The REDD+ Task Force draft specifically suspends the granting of any new logging, plantations, and mining permits on primary and secondary forest lands. The Ministry of Forestry version states the moratorium applies to “new conversion permits for primary forests and peatland for two years, starting Jan. 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2012.”
Until the decree is signed, the moratorium is not legally binding.
The proposed moratorium has proved controversial in Indonesia, which recently surpassed Brazil as the top deforester in the tropics. While many civil society organizations and environmental groups support the effort to protect Indonesia’s rainforests and peatlands, some logging and plantation companies oppose restrictions on forest conversion. Accordingly, the last few months have seen strong lobbying from both sides.
(12/30/2010) Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has selected Central Kalimantan as the pilot province for the country’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program, according to the President’s office on climate change. Central Kalimantan was selected over eight other forested provinces, including Aceh, Jambi, Riau, and South Sumatra on the island of Sumatra; West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo; and Papua and West Papua in Indonesian New Guinea. Central Kalimantan was chosen due to its high rate of forest conversion, large expanses of peatlands and rainforests, the advanced state of carbon conservation test projects, and political interest in reducing deforestation and degradation.
(12/28/2010) Flying in a plane over the Indonesian half of the island of New Guinea, rainforest stretches like a sea of green, broken only by rugged mountain ranges and winding rivers. The broccoli-like canopy shows little sign of human influence. But as you near Jayapura, the provincial capital of Papua, the tree cover becomes patchier—a sign of logging—and red scars from mining appear before giving way to the monotonous dark green of oil palm plantations and finally grasslands and urban areas. The scene is not unique to Indonesian New Guinea; it has been repeated across the world’s largest archipelago for decades, partly a consequence of agricultural expansion by small farmers, but increasingly a product of extractive industries, especially the logging, plantation, and mining sectors. Papua, in fact, is Indonesia’s last frontier and therefore represents two diverging options for the country’s development path: continued deforestation and degradation of forests under a business-as-usual approach or a shift toward a fundamentally different and unproven model based on greater transparency and careful stewardship of its forest resources.
(06/14/2010) Late last year Indonesia made global headlines with a bold pledge to reduce deforestation, which claimed nearly 28 million hectares (108,000 square miles) of forest between 1990 and 2005 and is the source of about 80 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Indonesia would voluntarily cut emissions 26 percent — and up to 41 percent with sufficient international support — from a projected baseline by 2020. Last month, Indonesia began to finally detail its plan, which includes a two-year moratorium on new forestry concession on rainforest lands and peat swamps and will be supported over the next five years by a one billion dollar contribution by Norway, under the Scandinavian nation’s International Climate and Forests Initiative. In an interview with mongabay.com, Agus Purnomo and Yani Saloh of Indonesia’s National Climate Change Council to the President discussed the new forest program and Norway’s billion dollar commitment.