Archipelago

Expert fulminates on foreign
‘lies’ on deforestation

An official from the Forestry Ministry says that data on Indonesian deforestation and forest degradation released by several institutions abroad contain many inaccuracies that taint the government’s image on the international stage.

“The figures on deforestation released by those institutions are without basis in fact. I am putting my position on the line by declaring that all of the stats on deforestation and degradation are wrong,” said the Forestry Minister’s expert on environment and climate change, Yetti Rusli. She was speaking during a visit to PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper in Riau, on Wednesday.

Yetti contends that many reports on deforestation by foreign environmental organizations contain data in contradiction with both the facts and mapping conducted by the Indonesian government. The reports include data on the number of areas with ‘production forests’ status that are now palm oil plantations or industrial plant forests.

“It is a fact that activities related to growing plants take place in the converted areas, but they don’t take that into consideration. So, how can we trust such data?” Yetti told Antara news agency.

She claims Indonesia has policies which have halted and reversed deforestation and that from 2000 to 2011 the rate of deforestation decreased.

During the peak period of deforestation, 2000-2003, deforestation reached 3.5 million hectares per year. (ebf)

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