Green economy becomes more concrete in Sumatra
Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak
The Jakarta Post
There is an urgent need to stop deforestation in Sumatra.
Plagued with illegal logging, forest fires, the uncontrolled development of plantations and mining sites, as well as human settlement, forested areas on the island of Sumatra have been in rapid decline, shrinking to 10.5 million hectares as of last year from 15.8 million ha in 2000.
The habitat losses have affected wildlife, including the Sumatran tiger population, which has dwindled to the current 371 from 400 in 2015, according to the latest data from WWF Indonesia.
The government’s intervention in 2012 by setting up five so-called essential ecosystem corridors on the island was widely applauded, but cooperation among the regional authorities involved is still lacking and the policy alone is considered ineffective in identifying problems and finding solutions.
“An integrated solution is paramount in the management of these ecosystem corridors to prevent more devastating ecological disasters,” said Tri Agung Rooswiadji of WWF Indonesia.
The NGO in partnership with Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia (MCAI) and with support from the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister, the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry as well as the Environment and Forestry Ministry put heads together to draw up a road map for sustainable solutions in Sumatra’s forests.
As a pilot project, they chose the 3.8 million ha of ecosystem that stretches across Riau, Jambi and West Sumatra and covers 11 nature conservation areas.
The area of the so-called Rimba corridor, named after the three provinces, is under the authority of 19 regencies and consists of both forests and commercial-use land.
Tri Agung, who coordinates WWF Indonesia’s Rimba corridor project team, said currently there were dozens of forest and plantation concession title holders developing between 2,000 and 40,000 ha each.
“The forestry activities and the number of stakeholders make it important to start from here. We expect a sustainable development in the Rimba corridor,” he said at an event titled National Dialogue on the Rimba Corridor Management in Jakarta on Feb. 27.
Prabianto Mukti Wibowo, the assistant deputy minister for forestry at the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister, said an integrated management within the ecosystem corridor would be a model for green economy and sustainable development of Indonesian forests.
“The Rimba corridor is a part of national spatial planning based on green economy principles that are important to achieving an even distribution of wealth and environment protection by improving the welfare of locals,” he said in a speech to open the three-day event.
During the discussion, which was also attended by officials from the three provinces, Dwi Haryawan of the national spatial planning directorate at the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry underlined the necessity of a special coordinating body to connect the regional authorities in handling forest management.
“Another presidential regulation on the establishment of the institution will be sufficient for the legal framework of the Rimba corridor management, and it will be a model for the management of the other four corridors,” he added.
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