Valuable rainforests preserved at highest rate in 30 years, following Indonesia’s palm oil moratorium
Indonesia holds a third of the world’s tropical rainforests, which are home to people and birds, leopards, rhinos, tigers and gibbons playing among the lush canopies – and recent protections are helping these vital places thrive.
Indigenous tribes, orangutans and many more now have a seat at the table under the leadership of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, elected in 2014.
The conduct of land use reforms by the Widodo administration and the reinstatement of a logging moratorium have resulted in four consecutive years of declining deforestation.
This constant work culminated in 2020 when the country hit its lowest forest loss rates since monitoring began, totaling a 75% year-over-year decline.
The country, which has been the largest producer of palm oil, had for years been open for business to anyone looking to open a plantation.
But a moratorium on new permits for plantations made permanent in 2019 under Widodo has combined with record prices for the raw material to slow its once relentless advance.
Half the square kilometer of Indonesia’s 17,500 islands is currently covered with forests, peat bogs, swamps or mangroves. In these places are some truly wonderful and iconic animals that depend on the forests for their survival. These include the Sumatran Orangutan, Komodo Komodo Dragon, Java Rhinos, Bali Starlings, Sulawesi Dwarf Buffalo, and the Sunda Leopard in Kalimantan.
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Policies such as a return of 30 million acres (12 million hectares) to indigenous governance, forest fire mitigation strategies, increased sanctions and environmental law enforcement, and others efforts, have given hope that the nation can protect its habitat, restore its remaining forests and reduce emissions in accordance with its agreements with the Paris Agreement.
“This [drop in deforestation] shows that various efforts by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in recent times have produced significant results, ”said Ruandha Agung Suhardiman, director general of planning at the ministry. Mongabay. “Their impact on reducing deforestation is enormous. “
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This positive change in reforestation practices has not only been noticed by the locals, but also by the Norwegian government. Almost a decade after signing an agreement that would compensate government agencies if they could reduce the loss of forests, the first payment of a billion euros reward has arrived in Indonesia.
“This is a big deal because it reflects the fact that Indonesia has crossed (a turning point), and this is great news for all of us,” said Oyvind Eggen, director of Rainforest Foundation Norway. Reuters.
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