Woodchoppers' BallsupSon No.1
left a comment yesterday to justify the fact that he has to fly from the UK in order to visit us. He wrote: In the next 24 hours, deforestation will release as much CO2 into the atmosphere as 8 million people flying from London to New York.
Environmental groups say Indonesia, with the world's third-largest tropical forest reserves behind the Amazon and the Congo basin, loses more than 2 million hectares of trees every year. Its rainforests - especially those on Borneo island - are being stripped so rapidly because of illegal logging and palm oil plantations for bio-fuels, they could be wiped out altogether within the next 15 years.Rully Sumada
, a forestry expert with Indonesian environmental group Walhi, told Reuters that sixty percent of the protected and conservation areas are already badly damaged due to illegal logging and palm oil plantations.
"The deforestation speed is 2.8 million hectares a year. At this rate, by 2012 the forests in Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi will be gone, only the forests in Papua will be left. And if cutting of trees carries on, no forest will be left by 2022.
In Cambodia it's worse.Hun Sen
, the Prime Minister of Cambodia is accused by Global Witness
of "building a shadow state on patronage, coercion and corruption" with family members actively involved in corrupt business dealings. It says the armed forces are involved in high-level deals via secret military development zones that cover 700,000 hectares (1.7m acres) of forest and other land
."Hun Sen's official biography
doesn't respond to these accusations, nor to the accusation
that, having been a Khymer Rouge cadre, he had no particular objection to genocide.Cambodia has one of the world's worst deforestation rates. Since 1970, its virgin forest cover has fallen from over 70% to 3.1%.
And this is a deforestation rate greater than here in Indonesia where a spot of genocide is also not unknown.Deforestation Rates in Indonesia 2000-2005
Annual change in forest cover: -1,871,400 ha
Annual deforestation rate: -2.0%
Change in defor. rate since '90s: 19.1%
Total forest loss since 1990: -28,072,000 ha
Total forest loss since 1990: -24.1%Rainforest cover has steadily declined since the 1960s when 82 percent of the country was covered with forest, to 68 percent in 1982, to 53 percent in 1995, and 49 percent today. Much of this remaining cover consists of logged-over and degraded forest. [This is by far the best source of statistics I have found.]
So, what is to be done?
Obviously central government must issue laws banning illegal logging. To that end, in March 2005, SBY issued Presidential Instruction No. 5 Year 2005
Concerning Eradication of Illegal Logging in Forest Area and the Circulation Throughout the Territory of the Republic of Indonesia.
That is of little consequence if there isn't a legal framework for its enforcement.Existing laws on forest use and trade are numerous, many times unclear and sometimes conflicting. Defining what is legal is necessary. An effort to develop a comprehensive standard is currently in progress by various stakeholders (including the Indonesian Government and environmental groups). A working draft of the standard has been produced - in English and Indonesian.
Son No.1 may be interested to know that the UK government's Department of International Development (DFID
) signed a Memorandum of Understanding which clearly sets out the laws on logging, thus making it much easier for the courts to prosecute offenders
Other countries, such as Japan have become parties to the MoU which also encourages importing countries to only purchase wood from legally verifiable sources
But action is also need here and NGOs
and individuals can only do so much to raise awareness. The answer lies with governments to do this and as much as I distrust politicians, there is one who deserves every plaudit going for demonstrating strong leadership.Irwandi Yusuf
, the recently elected Aceh governor, has banned logging indefinitely
in the province.The new governor of Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged Aceh province declared a moratorium on logging Wednesday as part of efforts to develop a new long-term forest management strategy.
Aceh's decades-long separatist insurgency meant logging was limited to rebels and rogue elements within the military. But a recent peace deal opened up previously inaccessible virgin forests. And with nearly 130,000 homes destroyed by the 2004 tsunami, demand for timber has been almost insatiable. Some international and local aid organizations have even been accused of buying illegal logs.
"This is part of our long-term plan to come up with a durable and fair forestry management plan,
" said Yusuf, adding he hoped the move would minimize natural disasters.
Now we await similar announcements from other governors in Sumatra, as well as those in Kalimantan and Papua.