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Indonesia: The three draft decrees

Indonesia’s proposed two-year moratorium on forest clearing is currently delayed, until President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono decides which one of at least two draft decrees he should sign. Two of the draft decrees, one from the Ministry of Forestry and the other by the REDD-Plus task force are posted below (in Indonesian).

To complicate matters still further, a third draft by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy is also in the running – this draft is an attempt to merge the previous two. Yet another draft, by Emil Salim, the presidential adviser for environmental affairs, seems to have disappeared without trace.

There are major differences between the first two draft decrees. Perhaps the most important difference is that the Ministry of Forestry’s draft decree applies only to primary forest, while the REDD-Plus task force version applies to primary and secondary forests. The draft by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy follows the Ministry of Forestry’s draft and also only applies to primary forest.

The Ministry of Forestry decree provides the following definition of primary forest (translated using google translate):

Primary forests are natural forests untouched by cultivation / silvicultural systems applied in forestry.

Primary forests are forests that grow naturally and not a result of investments made by humans, and has not been exploited and used by using silvicultural system.

In an interview with the Jakarta Globe, Nordin, the director of the Kalimantan-based NGO Save our Borneo, points out that if the Ministry of Forestry draft decree is adopted, the moratorium would apply to only a small area of Indonesia’s forest:

“Primary or virgin forests only account for around 3 percent [of all forests]. The rest is what we call ‘logged areas,’ or forest areas that have been managed before.”

The moratorium is part of the Indonesia-Norway REDD deal. If the moratorium is only to apply to primary forests, as the Ministry of Forestry hopes, where are the reduced emissions from avoided deforestation for which Norway has agreed to pay US$1 billion?

Draft 1: Ministry of Forestry

Draft 2: REDD-Plus task force

Draft 3: Coordinating Minister for the Economy

UPDATE – 12 January 2011: Added the third draft from the Coordinating Minister for the Economy.

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  1. More background on the delayed moratorium from the Jakarta Post: “Business interests blamed for forest moratorium delay“. Here’s an extract – according to Greenomics, in 2010 conversion of natural forests in Indonesia was double that of 2009:

    Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said the debate on the forest moratorium was currently centered on whether business activities would still be allowed to convert secondary forests, or areas that had been converted for business purposes.

    “It is clear that primary forests and peat will be protected. The talks are now centering on the status of secondary forests,” he said on Tuesday.

    Greenomics Indonesia has said the government must be serious in following up on its promises to stop the conversion of forests.

    Greenomics reported that the conversion of natural forests had increased by 100 percent last year from 2009, and that the volume of wood removed from natural forests rose to 12.18 million cubic meters in 2010.

    “The increase of the conversion of natural forests shows there have been no changes in forest protection since President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made his speech at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 and the letter of intent (LoI) with Norway,” Greenomics’ National Coordinator Vanda Mutia Dewi said.