MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Indonesian forest to disappear in 15 years

Published by MAC on 2006-03-12

Indonesian forest to disappear in 15 years

by Antara News

12th March 2006

Committee Chairman for National Green Archipelgo, Ary Sudarsono said Indonesian forests were expected to disappear in 15 years to come if the government did not make serious efforts to preserve them. "With a destruction level of 2.8 million hectares annually, the Indonesian forests will become extinct in the next 15 years," he said in a press statement made available to ANTARA News here on Sunday.

He said that during the 2000-2005 period, of the 120.3 million hectares of forests in Indonesia, 59.2 million hectares were damaged. "If the country’s forests are all damaged, natural disasters such as floods, landslides and drought will take place everywhere," he added.

Sudarsono said that damages to forests could cause the extinction of 27,000 plant species in Indonesia, which account for 10 percent of the world`s plant species, 1,539 bird species (17 percent of the world`s), 515 species of mammals (12 percent) and 270 amphibious species (16 percent). Therefore, Sudarsono said, his committee would launch an environmental preservation campaign in any sports, arts and cultural events.

On Friday, Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar launched an environmental recovery program for an area at Merapi Mountain which was severely damaged by volcanic material mining. The Merapi Conservation Program was held in mountainside Kemiren village in Srumbung subdistrict in Magelang district.

The Magelang district administration has distributed 20,000 fruit seedlings to villagers who are told to plant them on a total land of 50 hectares in six villages. Magelang district head Singgih Sanyoto said non-environmental friendly sand minings have seriously damaged reserved forests and farm lands in the mountainside.

Illegal logging has also been attributed to forest damage. Illegal logging activities, for example, are rampant in the protected forest of Peleng Island, Banggai Kepulauan (Bangkep) district, Central Sulawesi.

"Almost every week, we can see logs cut illegally from the protected forest are piling up along Salakan-Palam roads," a local resident said.

Indonesia loses Rp30 trillion (about US$2,8 billion) annually in revenues and taxes due to illegal logging activities. While, around 2.8 million hectares of the country`s forest areas disappear every year.

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