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Indonesian province of East Kalimantan imposes moratorium on deforestation

Deforestation and peat fires in Indonesian Borneo.

The Indonesian province of East Kalimantan has imposed a one-year moratorium on new permits for logging, mining, and oil palm plantations, reports Reuters.

“We have applied this moratorium policy for new permits on forestry, mining and plantation since several weeks ago and it will last for a year,” East Kalimantan Governor Awang Faroek Ishak was quoted as saying.

“We will stop issuing new permits for forestry, mining and plantation business. However, companies that [obtained] permits before the moratorium [began] can still continue their business activities as usual.”

East Kalimantan has lost a higher proportion of its forests than any other province in Indonesian Borneo. The province has extensive coal reserves, while most of its remaining forests have been heavily degraded by logging. Oil palm plantations cover about 700,000 hectares, according to the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki).

Indonesia has a nationwide moratorium on new forestry and planation concessions across 14.5 million hectares of previously unprotected land. The moratorium, which came under a billion dollar pact with Norway to reduce emissions from deforestation, is set to expire this May, unless extended by the central government. The moratorium does not apply to mining concessions.

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