Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Indonesia Forestry Ministry Asks for Cash Boost

November 16, 2009

Arti Ekawati The Jakarta Globe

Indonesia Forestry Ministry Asks for Cash Boost

The Ministry of Forestry said on Monday that it needed a more than fivefold raise in its budget for rehabilitating damaged forests if it is to meet the government rehabilitation target — a key part of efforts to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2020.

The ministry said it would ask the House of Representatives to increase its rehabilitation budget from the current Rp 500 billion ($53.5 million) a year to Rp 2.8 trillion in 2010.

Forestry Ministry Zulkifli Hasan said Rp 500 billion was nowhere near enough to meet the government target of revitalizing 500,000 hectares in 2010 by planting trees such as durian, sengon and teak. “It’s not enough and we will ask the House of Representative to increase the budget,” he said.

Indriastuti, the Forestry Ministry’s director general of land rehabilitation and community forestry, said about Rp 3 trillion was needed to rehabilitate 500,000 hectares of land a year.

According to Zulkifli, the Finance Ministry collects about Rp 2.5 trillion a year on average from forestry companies under the forest retribution fund. The money comes from concessions holders that manage government-owned woodlands and from firms that have converted forests to other uses such as plantations.

But only a small amount of this money reaches the Forestry Ministry, with much of the unspent funds going to non-forestry projects, he said.

Elfian Effendi, executive director of policy development institute Greenomics Indonesia, said the government should concentrate on developing more programs for sustainable forest management.

“The government must have concrete data on land which is going to be rehabilitated, and laws preventing people from converting forestry land to plantations or mining must be enforced.”

Currently, about four million hectares of state-owned forest have been converted to plantations without licenses and about 200,000 hectares were being used for mining without permission, Elfian said.

The vast area of damaged forestry land was a cause for alarm, he said. Based on Forest Ministry’ data, forest degradation averages 1.8 million hectares per year, and was mostly caused by illegal logging and opening up forestry land for other uses.

Data also show there is about 51.03 million hectares of damaged forestry land across the archipelago.

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