Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Indonesia Fails to Reach Forest Rehab Target

Indonesia Fails to Reach Forest Rehab Target

Source: The Jakarta Post - September 8, 2007

The government has failed to reach its 2007 forest rehabilitation target due to financial issues and poor coordination, said a senior forestry ministry official.

"The government's target was to reforest three million hectares of land in four years ... but it has so far only replanted around two million hectares," director general of land rehabilitation Darori said Friday. But the shortfall of one million hectares was due mainly to a lack of funds, he said. "So far we have only had reforestation funds to rely on and they are limited."

In 2006 he said his office received Rp 300 billion (US$33.3 million), which saw it able to reforest 37,790 hectares. Darori said it was unfortunate the pace of reforestation was slower than the rate of deforestation. The government has managed to rehabilitate some 500,000 hectares of forests annually, but the deforestation rate reached 1.8 million hectares per year, he said.

Indonesia's forest occupies 120 million hectares of land or around 65 percent of the country's land area, but deforestation has significantly cut the country's forests. Total deforestation has reportedly reached 59 million hectares due to high rates of land clearing, peatland blazes and growing industries.

Daruri said to accelerate reforestation efforts, his office would aim to rehabilitate 900,000 hectares of forests this year. He said the government had allocated Rp 3.3 trillion from its budget for this project. Next year he said his office would propose access to Rp 8.6 trillion from the state budget for reforestation.

"If the proposal is approved, we will target to reforest 1.7 million hectares of land," he said.

Darori said failure to reach the four-year target was also due to poor coordination efforts between the central government, regional administrations and community members. Improved coordination was a must, he said, to realize a new presidential regulation around forest and land rehabilitation.

The regulation was issued on September 3, 2007 and includes provincial, regental and municipal administrations. It says these bodies should contribute at least 10 percent of costs for forestry and land rehabilitation in their respective territories. In addition to state and local administration budgets, the government also uses donations from foreign countries to finance its reforestation programs. The German government recently donated around 20 million euros (US$27.3 million) to help Indonesia finance its reforestation programs. (05)