Four ministers and 10 Sumatran governors have launched a road map to protect Sumatra’s remaining forests, but doubts remain over continuing massive forest conversion. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan at the ceremony on Tuesday night stressed the need to monitor forest conversion, including for plantations, if Sumatra wanted to protect its rich biodiversity. He admitted the changes in forested areas gained pace ahead of and during regional elections across the country.
“I don’t know why, but the rate of forest conversion is higher during regional elections,” he said. The road map aims to ensure that spatial planning and development in Sumatra should be ecosystem-based until 2020. The plan to protect biodiversity and ecosystems in Sumatra were also declared at the Barcelona World Conservation Congress in 2008. Sumatra has 45 million hectares of land, 5 million of which are considered conservation areas. There are currently nine national parks with a total of 3.8 million hectares.
Sumatra is home to endangered species such as orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants. Part of the action plan aims to restore damaged forests and plant about 4 million hectares of restoration areas by 2020. Sumatra Island will maintain at least 29 percent of remaining natural forests by 2020. Each province is required to issue at least 10 regulations on forest management, including on mangroves in coastal area in 2012.
The action plan requires an evaluation of 70 percent of forest concessions (HPH) in 2012 to promote sustainable forest management. The provinces must also develop village-based conservation that allows local people to utilize natural resources in forest without damaging the forest. It was expected at least 20 percent of villages per province would adopt the conservation model. The provinces are tasked with developing incentive-based models to promote conservation and improve public welfare and local economies.
Source: The Jakarta Post – May 14, 2010
By Adianto P. Simamora