Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tree planting mandatory, cutting prohibited by Indonesia's climate action plan

Jakarta Post: The Forestry Ministry wants the government to issue a policy making it mandatory for each Indonesian citizen to plant a tree every year to store more carbon. In its action plan, the ministry said anyone who wished to cut down a tree with a diameter of more than 10 centimeters had to secure a permit issued by the government. "And anyone who fells a tree has to plant two more trees," the action plan stated.

The director general of the forestry research and development agency, Wahjudi Wardojo, said planting trees was one of the most effective ways to mitigate climate change. "We hope local administrations set a rule requiring local citizens to plant more trees," he told The Jakarta Post on Friday. The ministry has set five targets for its mitigation action plan until 2009.

The targets are; to combat illegal logging, rehabilitate forest land and conservation areas, restructure the forestry sector especially for industrial aims, empower local communities living near forests and improve institutions monitoring forests. The action plan states the ministry will rehabilitate 11 million hectares of damaged forests until 2009, 4,8 million hectares until 2012 and 16 million hectares for 2025. "The remaining will be rehabilitated until 2050," it says.

The ministry also aims to reduce the deforestation rate. "We have targeted to reduce deforestation by 23.63 million hectares until 2009, 6.15 million hectares until 2012 and 10 million hectares until 2025," the action plan stated. The ministry has targeted to reduce forest fires by 50 percent by 2009 and 75 percent by 2012.

Wahjudi said in order to meet the targets, the ministry needed a national and international funding mechanism. "Without financial support from the international community, it will be difficult to reach the target," he said. The Kyoto Protocol on climate change is an international binding treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions to combat global warming. The protocol allows developing countries to host afforestation and reforestation projects to reap cash under the Clean Development Mechanism.

…Wetlands International, an international environmental NGO, has listed Indonesia as the world's third-largest carbon emitter, due to a high level of forest degradation and the large number of forest fires in the country last year.

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