Tiger, tiger burning dim
There's much ado about Indonesia hosting the next, the thirteenth, United Nations Climate Change Conference
on the island of Bali from December 3rd -14th.
A week ago, SBY hosted a two day informal meeting
in Bogor of ministers and senior officials from about 40 countries aimed at building a foundation for the conference.
He called for developed countries to continue to take the lead in significantly reducing carbon emissions.
"Developed countries are also called upon to provide resources, environmentally-sound technologies and the necessary financial support for developing countries, many of which have scant resources for coping with and adapting to the impact of climate change
."But developing nations should also try to reduce their national greenhouse gas emissions and step up their efforts to do more, he said.
"They would be well advised to formulate and carry out innovative and forward-looking national strategies by way of mitigation and adaptation
Obviously, Indonesia must do more
to control deforestation
and the conversion of peat lands
.There is no question that deforestation in Indonesia is having a serious impact at international as well as at national and local levels. Destructive logging, out-of-control fires, forest clearance for plantations, mining, fossil fuel extraction, transmigration sites, aquaculture, and road-building have long been linked with negative social and economic impacts for local indigenous and forest-dependent communities, and enormous financial losses for communities and the state.A recent study
) has now highlighted the global picture, which shows Indonesia both as a major contributor to climate change, as well as highly vulnerable to its impacts. Forest destruction, peatland degradation and forest fires are mostly to blame for Indonesia's ranking as third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the USA and China.
Not only must Indonesia do more; the government now has opportunity to demonstrate a clear commitment and leadership; politicians and law enforcement agencies must cease mouthing platitudes and act, and not just in Bali (where for the duration of the conference SBY will have his seat of government).A report
has been issued this week by the Zoological Society of London
(ZSL) which states that some unprotected areas of Sumatran forests are safe havens for a variety of threatened species, including tigers, elephants, sun bears, tapirs, golden cats and clouded leopards. The Indonesian Government is currently allocating the degraded, logged and partially settled forest areas to oil palm, timber plantations and other concessions, all of which have damaging impacts on the environment. If this strategy is not changed, it will result in loss of habitat that is vital to the future of the Sumatran tiger and many other species.
Degraded land is land that has already been stripped of its largest trees, making it unsuitable for animals that live in forest canopies, but it is still useful for ground-based animals as it can serve as useful corridors between different populations of a species.
So, it is clear that not only primary but also secondary forest areas are key to Indonesia's biodiversity. They must be brought under legal conservation control. A commitment to do so at the Bali Conference from the Indonesian government, together with the necessary regulatory framework, would go some way to demonstrating that the Conference has a validity beyond the beaches.
* Note from Richard Ness: "The picture was taken by a camera trap. All you do is set a digital camera along the trail and it takes a picture of any animal or human that walks by. We had requested the Tiger Foundation to assist in base line studies on wild life in an area in Sumatra. This photo was taken by a camera trap set by Dr. Neil Franklin from the Tiger Foundation (NB. No longer active). We had a separate group for Orangutans. We did find is a very unique area where the Aceh biodiversity overlapped with the North/Central Sumatra biodiversity. Ended up working with US AID and conservation international to try and have it protected. This work is still on going. What I also learned is that tigers are very interesting. I am not sure the cutting of primary forest for logging or plantations is a real issue for them. They may do just as well in secondary growth."
(A year ago, Richard Ness was on trial accused of allowing his gold mining company, Newmont Minahasa Raya, to pollute Bulat Bay in Sulawesi. He was acquitted in May this year.)
Essential reading: 'Avoided Deforestation' and Indonesia