Govt releases new forest moratorium map
The Forestry Ministry released on Thursday its latest “Indicative Moratorium Map” of 65,282,006 hectares of natural forests and peatland — where no clearing activities can take place — as guidelines for local administrations when issuing forestry licenses.
Unlike the controversial first revision in November, the latest revision showed a net loss of only 92,245 hectares in the total area of protected forest and peatland.
The changes include a loss of 125,961 hectares of peatland from the previous map and re-addition of 33,716 hectares from the Rawa Tripa peat swamp in Aceh.
The latest map, presented by Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, is available on the ministry’s website www.dephut.go.id.
Indonesia issued the two-year moratorium map in May 2011, designed to curtail deforestation, with an initial total of 69.1 million hectares of protected areas.
In the first six-monthly revision in November, the protected areas were slashed to 65.37 million hectares after it was discovered that some were not peatland and others were deemed as commercially viable.
Environmental groups slammed the first revision as a sellout to commercial interests.
Controversy particularly surrounded the exclusion of Rawa Tripa peatland areas in Aceh which were excluded from the first revised map and reappeared after the local government issued a license in August 2011 for an oil palm plantation company to operate there.
According to the recent map, Papua has the largest protected areas with 25 million hectares, followed by Kalimantan with 14 million hectares and Sumatra with 13 million hectares.
Zulkifli said the revisions were based on surveys and suggestions from local people.
The moratorium and the earlier efforts were paying off handsomely with the deforestation rate slashed to 450,000 hectares in 2009–2011 from 830,000 hectares in the previous three years, he said.
The Presidential Working Unit for the Supervision and Management of Development (UKP4) had already announced the indicative map on Monday.
The UKP4 chairman Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said that the moratorium showed a positive improvement.
However, the total area in that map was slightly different compared to the one announced by the ministry on Thursday.
The UKP4 said that the total area protected was 65,753,810 hectares, which was 471,805 more than the ministry’s data.
Zulkifli said that difference was due to a different calculation method used by UKP4, in which the area added by the unit was used for farming and agricultural activities and should be excluded from the maps.
The two-year moratorium is part of Indonesia’s pledge to curtail forest clearing in a US$1 billion deal with the Norwegian government.
Indonesia has the world’s third-largest expanse of forest with 120 million hectares of rainforest. (aml)