Indonesia's Ambitious Rainforest Plan Not Going So Well

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A little more than a year ago, Indonesia enacted a moratorium on deforestation, and got major finanial backing from the US and Norway to make it happen. But now halfway into its two-year moratorium, it is still a long way from meeting its goal of cutting carbon emissions by saving the rainforest, according to a recent article from the journal Nature.

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The combination of strong corporate interests and rampant political corruption in Indonesia made observers more than a bit nervous when the $1 billion partnership was announced back in 2010. But this type of partnership is a major component of plans to cut emissions worldwide, and the world is watching the success or failure of Indonesia's effort.

Indonesia's ability to actually enact this ban is extremely important for protecting rainforests. The nearly 18,000 islands that make up the country are home to the largest expanse of rainforest in Asia and the third-largest tropical rainforest in the world. The Rainforest Action Network reports that 80 percent of Indonesia was foreststed as recently as the 1960s. However, demand for commodities like pulp, paper and palm oil has caused an infiltration into the rainforests of Southeat Asia. Indonesia now has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, according to RAN, with more than 2.4 million acres lost each year. 

With one year left on the ban, stronger enforcement and better analysis of forested areas for conservation-value and carbon storage potential are necessary for Indonesia to continue progress towards emissions reduction.

Mother Jones
Kacey Deamer
Friday, June 1, 2012

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