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Strengthening Community Participation in Reducing Deforestation in 8 Provinces of Indonesia Green union’s (SHI) work areas

By: Ade Indriani ZuchriGeneral Secretary Indonesia Green Union


A. Forest Situation, Deforestation, and Degradation of Forest in Indonesia

Indonesia is well known as one of countries that have the most populous forest in the world, beside Brazil and Republic of Congo. According to data published by Ministry of Forestry in 2013, the space of Indonesia's forest was approximately 123.549.508 Ha or it equals to 70% of the total area of Indonesia. Within this vast area of forest, Indonesia is placed as a key country in every global meeting related to forestry and climate change issues. Moreover, forests in Indonesia also are called as a heaven for biodiversity or mega-biodiversity, which plays a role in the preservation of forest.

Forest area in Indonesia is spread throughout this country. However, most of forests are located in the big islands, such as Sumatera, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua. This forest area is divided into three big functions with their own area proportion. Forest production area is the biggest area with the space within 74 million Ha or approximately 60%. Then, protected forest area with the space within 30 million Ha and conservation forest within 28 million Ha. Statistic also has shown that the forests in Indonesia are vulnerable to experience function degradation and deforestation. Related to this, trees in protected forest are tend to be exploited or even land conversion for non-forestry purposes, such as expansion on palm plantation.

Now, in South Sumatera, the forest area has become less than the area for other functions (APL). This reduction of forest area is a sign that the massive deforestation is currently happening. In South Sumatera, according to SK Menhut No. 866 year 2014, the forest area is only 40% compared to APL within 60%. According to FWI report, the deforestation in 2014 reached 943.000 Ha within five years. This number was reduced than the published number within prior five years in which reached 1,1 million Ha. However, that number is still big if it is compared to Indonesia government who has committed to zero deforestation in 2020.

Indonesia government has placed forestry and land sector as a sector in which could contribute to reduce the emission from the target; 26% by the self-effort, 41% by the support from international partners, and above 41% by market mechanism. Within national action in reducing the gas emission, forestry sector and peat lands would contribute the decreasing of emission to 672 MtCO2e from 767 mtCO2e in 2020. This target could be reached if the forest and peat land management is good and still will contribute to the economic growth.


B. Deforestation in Local Areas

In general, government and ministry of forestry have reviewed all of the regulations that allocate the forests for commercial and industry purposes. Within proportion as total for production forest area, which has two times more spacious than protected forest, government obviously has placed forest to be degraded in its function. As a consequence, the deforestation would be happened in a massive way and acquired its legality. As mentioned before, the trend of deforestation is linear to the land conversion for non-forestry purposes, such as monoculture plantation, mining, and infrastructure.

The deforestation rate in local areas is tremendous and eligible to be a consideration for the improvement of forestry governance. In South Sumatera, it was noted that the deforestation rate has reached 1 million Ha until 2014. From the total province area 8,1 million Ha, the area for forests, according to SK Menteri No. 866 year 2014, is only 3,5 million Ha, compared to the APL within 5,3 million Ha. The gap between the area for forests and APL in this province could be scrutinized by the expansion of palm plantation and mining industry. SHI has found the total of plantation permit has reached 325, but the government only can control 280 of them with the total area within 1,8 million Ha.

This data is not included with the permit for forest production utilization concession, which has contributed to the high deforestation number. From 46 forestry concession permits in South Sumatera, majority of them are belonged to logger companies which have exploited 1,5 million Ha.

Beside of that, the expansion of plantation area and forestry concession has made South Sumatera becomes an area which contributed to the release of emission caused by forest fire for opening peat lands. This province is one of provinces which have a vast area of peat lands in Sumatera within 1,2 million Ha. South Sumatera has all of types of peats. Starting from 30-50 cm to more than 500 cm. Also, as calculated, the total of saving for carbon stocks has reached 1.420 megaton.

Massive deforestation also happens in other provinces, such as North Sumatera and Aceh. According to SHI in North Sumatera, forest area has experienced deforestation within 1,3 million Ha. With the total of forest area within 3 million Ha, according to SK Menteri Hutan No. 579/2014. This number has been reduced to 40% from total of areas in North Sumatera within 7,1 million Ha. From 3 million Ha of forest area, the total of production forest area, limited production forest, and conversion forest are within 1,4 million Ha. Bad governance, corruptions in functional shift land have made pressure to forest as economic purposes rather than ecological purposes.

In North Sumatera, the main cause of deforestation is a functional shift of land for plantation and mining purposes. Mining case also emerged in North Sumatera, which involved corporate, namely PT Sorikmas Mining in Mandailing Natal. The corporate used 108.000 Ha of conservation forest in Taman Nasional Batang Gadis. The scandal in this case was the functional shift of land from production land to be a palm plantation within 150.000 Ha in Padang Lawas, which also involved a businessman, namely DLS. Another case also emerged involving PT TPL in Pandumaan Sipituhuta which pruned the indigenousforest area. Natural forest belonged to indigenous people has gone and changed into monoculture wood plantation for pulp industry.

The threats of deforestation in Aceh also reached 130.000 Ha between 2009 to 2014 from the total of forest area within 3,5 million Ha. This number is believed to be higher than what was published. The highest rate of deforestation based on FWIs finding is situated in the areas that have concession permits for plantation and mining within 92.000 Ha.

Sarekat Hijau Indonesia (SHI) works in 8 provinces of Indonesia: (1) South Sumatera (2) Riau (3) Jambi (4) North Sumatera (5) Aceh (6) Lampung (7) West Java (8) Central Borneo; to address the problems of deforestation by:

  1. Strengthening local institutions to support green village development through green political school and activities;
  2. Improving the communitys capital through sustainability integrated farming and biodiversity; and
  3. Empowering program Effectiveness.


Jakarta, 29 April 2016.


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