Indonesian Governors Curb Logging to Reduce Climate Change

NUSA DUA, Bali, Indonesia, April 27, 2007 (ENS) - The governors of Indonesia's three most forested provinces have pledged to jointly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from logging and land clearing to reduce the impact of climate change. Tropical rainforests absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for global warming.

The governors of Aceh, Papua and Papua Barat provinces agreed on a policy of "environmentally friendly, sustainable economic development and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation."

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Another tree falls in the Indonesian rainforest. (Photo courtesy Telapak)
The agreement is also aimed at reducing poverty, protecting community rights over natural resources, stimulating employment, and attracting investment.

The unprecedented pact to reduce carbon emissions was made Thursday at a roundtable meeting in Bali at the site of the upcoming United Nations climate change conference in December.

Facilitated by the World Bank, the roundtable was attended by representatives of the Indonesian central government, civil society, the international community, and the private sector.

The governors said they recognize their "special position as stewards of the largest natural forests in Indonesia," and also recognize "the important role Indonesia plays in global carbon emissions and the overwhelming contribution made by deforestation and land degradation."

Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf said he will place a temporary moratorium on all logging in the province on the northern end of Sulawesi island where forests are being felled for timber, farming and housing.

Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu and West Papua Governor Abraham Octavian Atururis said they would revoke the licences of companies that log their tropical forests without replanting or contributing to local communities. They vowed to accelerate local development and community forestry.

Papua and Papua Barat will develop a pilot project that carries out these policies in a 500,000 hectare (1.2 million acres) area.

Both provinces will reallocate up to five million hectares (12.3 million acres) of conversion forest for carbon trading.

Thousands more forest rangers will be employed to guard against illegal loggers, and helicopters will be utilized to monitor the vast rainforests.

"All types of forests in Papua are dedicated to save planet Earth and future humanity including the wise and prudent development of green industries," the two governors said.

The three governors called for guidance from the Indonesian government and the support of the international community through carbon financing mechanisms and transfer of technology to protect the forests and provide income to local communities.
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Logs awaiting transport to market. West Papua, Indonesia, 2003 (Photo courtesy EIA)
Indonesia wants rich countries to pay for preserving tropical rainforests. The government has signaled its intention to push this proposal at the UN climate conference in December.

About 10 percent of the world's remaining tropical forests are found in Indonesia, which is around 60 percent forested

Indonesia has already lost an estimated 72 percent of its original frontier forest, and half of what remains is threatened. Only 21 percent of Indonesia's forests are protected.

Massive illegal logging is driving forest loss across Indonesia, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency, EIA, a nongovernmental research and advocacy group based in London and Washington. Over 80 percent of timber felled in Indonesia comes from illegal sources.

Earlier this month the Indonesian government asked consumers to stop buying products made from illegally logged wood and to buy only wood certified as sustainably logged.