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NEWS UPDATES 29 November 2009

Indonesia loses 1.1m hectares to deforestation each year

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The deforestation in Indonesia takes up to 1.1 million hectares each year, while the government is only able to restore 500,000 acres each year, a local media reported Saturday.

Speaking in South Kalimantan province's capital city of Banjarmasin on Friday, the Environmental Affairs Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said that should such a condition continue to occur, it would endanger 30 to 40 million people around the country living around the devastated forests.

"Smog from the forest fire, extreme climate change, flood, landslide and other disasters are among risks taken by those living around the devastated forest," Gusti was quoted by the as saying.

He added that the heat that comes up from the rampant forest fire in Indonesia has increased temperature up to four degrees, raising the sea level up to 80 centimeters.

"Regarding that fact, I call on all people across the country to plant trees, at least one person for one tree. This is an essential attempt to slow down the pace of climate change impacts," Gusti said.

Gusti pointed out that Indonesia's future would depend on the efforts to preserve the forest, not the price of woods taken out from the forest.

Gusti added that the government has allocated 2 trillion rupiah ( about $212.7 million) each year, and would increase the allocation up to 2.6 trillion rupiah ( about $276.5 million) to finance the reforestation efforts.

The wood industry and paper industry are the two manufactures that take woods in Indonesian forests, the minister said, adding that many forest areas had now turned into mining or plantation areas without having certain license from the government.

According to the minister, the unlicensed forest opening has been rampant in South Kalimantan, while in neighboring province of Central Kalimantan, it reached a million hectares. Similar situation also occurs in Sumatran forests.


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