Thursday, 13 August 2009

Inconsistent policies accelerate forest destruction: NGOs

Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 08/12/2009

Environmental groups said Wednesday inconsistency in government policies had played an important role in forest destruction, leading to continual forest fires and deforestation across the country.

The statement was made jointly by Greenpeace, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and Indigenous People’s Alliance-West Borneo (AMAN).

Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said government policies issued this year were systematically destroying the country’s forests. “Such inconsistent policies have an impact on forest fires and deforestation in Indonesia,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

He said the government had issued a policy to stop illegal logging in Riau in December 2008.

“But, in March 2009, the government issued annual clearing permits for Riau, which then lead to forest fires and deforestation,” he said.

He said in January 2009, the government issued a policy to extend the pulp and paper industry’s time frame to use natural forest timber until 2014.

In addition, under the 2009 ministerial decree, the clearing permit decision-making process was taken over by the central government from the provincial administration. “The issuance of new plantation permits has triggered forest fires, like in Riau, Sumatra and Kalimantan,” Bustar said.