RI to launch green pilot project in June
Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Wed, 04/16/2008 12:31 PM Headlines
Indonesia, the world's third largest forestry nation, will carry out its first REDD pilot project in a peatland forest in Central Kalimantan aimed at fighting global warming, a senior official said here Tuesday.
Forestry Ministry head of research and development Wahjudi Wardojo said the project, under which people will be prohibited from cutting down and burning trees, is expected to start in June.
The so-called demonstration activity to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) will be funded by Australia, he said.
"The Australian government will provide A$30 million in grants for the project.
"Technical teams from Indonesia and Australia are now in intensive talks to prepare the REDD project," Wahjudi told The Jakarta Post.
He said the peatland forest in Central Kalimantan was selected for the project after intensive research.
"It is the most sensitive peatland for forest fires in the country. The forest also boasts great biodiversity in urgent need of protection," he said.
"The project will also revitalize the peatland forest, such as by building of canals to prevent fires in the area."
The REDD concept was adopted at last year's UN climate change conference in Bali as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Trees store tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main contributor to global warming. Carbon is released into the atmosphere when trees are burned.
The REDD concept is expected to take effect after 2012, after the Kyoto Protocol expires.
Before 2012, developing nations with forests can propose REDD pilot projects to rich countries. In return, the host of the project will receive revenue.
Forestry Minister MS Kaban earlier said Indonesia received pledges of US$100 million from developed countries for its REDD activities.
Indonesia plans REDD projects for eight forest areas this year.
"We are still analyzing other forests areas eligible for the REDD projects," Wahjudi said.
Environmental group Greenomics Indonesia warned the implementation of REDD projects must be in line with the country's land-use regulations.
Greenomics executive director Elfian Effendi said the government and international communities should be careful in selecting eligible forests for the projects.
"In Riau, for example, there are no grounds for saying that the REDD mechanism needs to be applied as a matter of urgency since almost 70 percent of deforestation in Riau has occurred in areas designated as convertible production forests," he told the Post.
There are currently 9.5 million hectares of forests in Riau, half of which were legally designated convertible production land in 1986.
"It would be difficult to carry out REDD projects in these convertible production forest areas," he said.
Nor could the program be run in protected forests, Elfian added.