Indonesia Finally Signs Forestry Logging Moratorium

Source: Yahoo News
May 19, 2011

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday signed a decree authorising a two-year moratorium on new logging concessions, under a billion-dollar climate deal with Norway.

“He signed it this morning,” Agus Purnomo, presidential advisor on climate change, told AFP.

No details were immediately released about how the controversial moratorium would work in the massive archipelago, which is home to some of the world’s last tracts of pristine jungle.

Indonesia is often cited as the world’s third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, mainly as a result of clearing forests for pulp or to make way for oil palm plantations.

Yudhoyono agreed to implement a moratorium on new concessions in May last year in exchange for $1 billion in funding from Norway, under a UN-backed scheme designed to pay developing countries to preserve forests.

It was meant to take effect in January but has been delayed amid aggressive lobbying from the palm oil and paper industries, which have tried to limit the reach of the decree to “primary forests”.

Environmentalists have said the moratorium must also apply to all natural and even degraded forests if it is to have any impact on Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said the terms of the moratorium remained unclear.

“We don’t know the details. If it only covers primary forests it is meaningless,” he said.

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