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Indonesia’s deforestation rate falls, says Ministry of Forestry

Indonesia's deforestation.Deforestation in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s deforestation rate fell from 830,000 hectares per year between 2006-2009 to 450,000 hectares per year between 2009–2011, said the Ministry of Forestry Thursday during the unveiling of its revision of a map that defines the country’s moratorium on new logging and plantation concessions in primary forests and peatlands.

The new map lists 65,282,006 hectares of natural forests and peatland as off-limits from new concessions, a reduction of 92,245 ha from the previous version of the map. The Ministry of Forestry’s numbers are about 471,000 hectares less than the extent announced on Monday by the chairman of Indonesia’s REDD+ Task Force, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto. The Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said the discrepancy is the result of the UKP4 including some areas used for agricultural, acccording to the Jakarta Post.

Overall the area protected under the “Indicative Moratorium Map” has been reduced from 69.1 million hectares since it was released a year ago.

Environmentalists have expressed disappointment with the moratorium, which excludes secondary forests and has loopholes for energy development, mining, and some agriculture. The moratorium, which was established after Norway committed up to a billion dollars for reducing emissions from deforestation in Indonesia, was originally expected to include all forest areas not already under concession. Norway’s Environment Minister said on Monday that the moratorium alone would not be enough for Indonesia to meet its emissions reductions target.

Nevertheless, the moratorium has triggered a push to reform the forestry sector which has historically been plagued by corruption, mismanagement, and social conflict. Reforms include improved accountability and transparency. The moratorium has also set in motion Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s plan to move Indonesia toward a lower carbon economy.

Indonesia has lost tens of millions of hectares of forest in recent decades, giving it one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. was unable to corroborate the Ministry of Forestry’s deforestation estimates. Numbers from other sources suggest a higher rate.

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