We’ve seen the draft moratorium on forest destruction in Indonesia

Feature story - February 27, 2011
Days before the President of Indonesia is set to announce a moratorium on forest destruction, we’ve got a copy of the draft moratorium, crunched the numbers and the news is not good. The data shows this proposed moratorium does little to protect areas that are not already off limits under Indonesia's existing laws. Unfortunately, if the plan moves forward as is, the forests, peatlands and all the wildlife living within them will continue to suffer deforestation from the pulp, paper and palm oil industries.

This land is vital to the survival of rare tigers and orang-utans as well as the livelihoods of local people. Unfortunately under this plan, the majority of forested orang-utan habitat will remain unprotected and vulnerable to destruction. 

According to the government’s own data, the moratorium would fail to protect 45 million hectares of natural forest and peatland, an area almost twice the size of the United Kingdom. It would both fail to stop substantial rainforest destruction and to help Indonesia achieve its target of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 41%.

In fact, Greenpeace maps created using this data show that the moratorium would only protect an additional 12 million hectares of forest and peatland, much of it located in the least accessible areas of Papua and Kalimantan - which are not under immediate threat of conversion.

Recently, Golden Agri-Resources’ (GAR), Indonesia’s largest palm oil producer and the Sinar Mas Group's palm oil arm, became an industry leader by announcing a new plan to stop deforestation, which if properly implemented would protect high carbon value forests and areas vital to local livelihoods and habitat critical to the survival of the last remaining tigers and orang-utan populations in the world.

The Government urgently needs to take action to improve the new moratorium and follow the example set by GAR.

By halting further forest clearance, both in new and existing concessions, it would buy time for the government to improve forest governance, develop a plan for low carbon development, and review existing concessions – many of which have been granted illegally. 

It would also help create conditions that would provide the industry with incentives to take the leadership needed to make Indonesia a world-class model for low-carbon development. And, it would set a model of good governance, transparency and accountability, to ensure the substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions the world needs to prevent dangerous climate change.

Greenpeace supports the a large coalition of organisations in Indonesia calling on the President to issue a moratorium that is not time-bound, which protects all natural forests and peatlands, including secondary forests. It should apply to areas within existing concessions and those areas granted in principle to industry on 31 December 2010.

Indonesian industry targets for palm oil, pulp and paper, and agriculture could all be met without any additional clearance of natural forests or peatlands through increased productivity of existing yields and other measures.

INDONESIA’S FORESTS AND PEATLANDS - Maps of legally protected areas, proposed moratorium areas, and forests and peatlands at risk