Indonesian President announced a permanent halt to deforestation

Indonesian President announced a permanent halt to deforestation

_President Joko Widodo of Indonesia (hereinafter referred to as Indonesia) issued a ban on 5 August to permanently stop logging activities on 66.1 million Hm2 virgin forest and peat land. The ban requires Indonesian ministers, governors and other officials to stop issuing logging permits for relevant forest and peatland and to refrain from mining, oil palm planting and land clearance activities. Meanwhile, efforts are being made to strengthen the management of virgin forests and peatland.

Five years ago, Indonesia was considered one of the most deforested countries in the world. In 2011, former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono first issued a moratorium on logging of 66 million Hm2 virgin forests, and then continued to extend the moratorium in order to reduce carbon emissions from burning after deforestation. The Global Forestry Watch (GFW) analyzed the implementation results of Indonesia’s forest stop-cutting areas in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and found that the area of forest loss in stop-cutting areas has decreased from 533,000 hm2 in 2016 to 157,000 hm2 in 2017 and 139,000 hm2 in 2018. This shows that the ban has a certain effect. And President Zoko’s further permanent ban will keep these virgin forests and peatlands from disappearing.

Nirarta Samadhi, an Indonesian expert at the World Resources Research Institute (WRI), points out that the ban has three benefits: one is to help achieve zero deforestation of virgin forests and peatlands. By preserving the integrity of virgin forests and peatlands, Indonesia can store at least 32 billion tons of carbon dioxide underground, equivalent to 6.1 billion passenger cars per year. The second is to protect people’s lives in forest areas. There are more than 25,000 villages in and around the stop-cutting area, of which 9,261 villages are located in the stop-cutting area. These residents live not only in forests, but also in forests, including rubber mining, herbal medicine collection, local crops, fruits and vines. Supported by strong forest management policies, the well-being of these residents and indigenous communities living near forests can be improved. Third, reduce the occurrence of forest fires. With the intensification of climate change and the prolongation of dry season, forests are more vulnerable to fire, leading to deforestation and degradation. GFW data show that during July to August 2019, there were more ignition points (1 537 different intensity ignition points) in the abandoned area of virgin forests in Indonesia. In the same period of 2017 and 2018, there were only 736 and 1004 fire spots respectively, which indicated that the incidence of forest fires in Indonesia continued to rise. The promulgation of the ban will help to further reduce the occurrence of forest fires.

_Next, it will be the first task to determine the boundary of the cut-off area and the priority protected area. With the implementation of the ban on logging of virgin forests, Indonesia will further improve and finalize the Map of Indicative Protected Forests and Peat Land, which has been published as early as 2017. Secondly, with the implementation of the permanent ban, it is imperative to change the map from “indicative” to “deterministic”. This work is essential for forest management in Indonesia. For example, if the Indonesian government succeeds in defining the boundary of the cut-off area, the long-standing land conflict problem will also be solved.

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