Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Aceh governor wants to allow more logging in Indonesia's protected forests

Hayat Indriyatno in the Jakarta Globe (Indonesia): Spatial zoning proposals for Aceh indicate that the province’s governor is seeking to open up more than 52,000 hectares of protected forest there to logging, a conservation group warns. In a report published on Tuesday, the group Greenomics Indonesia found that the spatial plans proposed by Governor Zaini Abdullah would change the status of vast tracts of protected forest to production forest.

“The report reveals that there are five large blocks of [protected] forest — each more than 2,000 hectares in area — that have been identified for the sole purpose of felling so as to meet timber needs of more than 21,000 hectares, equivalent to 30 percent of the total area of Singapore,” the report said.

“In addition the report reveals that there are two blocks of [protected] forest that are also relatively large which have been proposed for conversion into production forest. The principal function of production forest is to produce timber, which is of course done through logging… These two blocks extend to more than 31,000 hectares.”

Satellite image analysis shows that all the affected blocks, spanning the districts of Gayo Lues, Southwest Aceh, Aceh Jaya and Nagan Raya, currently enjoy good forest cover, which Greenomics noted was the obvious reason that they were being targeted for logging.

However, the group also noted that the spatial zoning proposals were subject to approval by the central government, and called on authorities in Jakarta to reject the plans. “The motivation needs to be quickly nipped in the bud by the Forestry Ministry. Otherwise it could lead to the legalization of destructive practices in the protection forests of Aceh,” the report said....

An 1890 photo of a forest in Aceh, Wikimedia Commons, from the Tropenmuseum Collection

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