Deforestation in Indonesia
Indonesia's economic miracle came at a devastating price for the nation - where millions of acres were deforested.
The rich forests of Indonesia have helped fuel the island nation's fantastic economic growth. The tropical woods were turned into pulp for paper and hardwood furniture - finding ready markets around the world.
But Indonesia's economic miracle came at a devastating price for the nation - where millions of acres were deforested - and the world.
Indonesia is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases and 85 percent of that comes from cutting down trees - largely in the lush lowlands on the island of Java. Michael Lawton has the story for Living on Earth," originally produced by Radio Deutsche Welle and Java's Radio Bass FM.
According to some figures, around 150,000 hectares of teak forest were destroyed by poor villagers following the political and social chaos in the post-Suharto era. But the plundering still continues, even if at a lower level. Krisdomo, the head of the Forest Stakeholders Association in the region of Parangantuban (phonetic spelling), says that although vast areas of forest have been destroyed, it's not benefited the local people. They still live in poverty.
The forest destruction between 1998 and 2002 is a dark chapter in the history of the state forest company Perhutani, which is part of the Indonesian Forest Department. The Indonesian government amended the law on forest preservation in 1999. In 2002, based on this new law as well as past experiences, Perhutani designed a program called community-based forest preservation. This program tries to include locals in forest preservation measures. Villagers who live near the forests are encouraged to help keep the forests in tact. As a reward, they can use land surrounding the forests for their needs. They're also entitled to 25 percent of the earnings from the forests' produce. Community-based forest preservation might sound like a good idea at first, but the program has yet to who any evidence of success.
Hosted by Steve Curwood, "Living on Earth" is an award-winning environmental news program that delves into the leading issues affecting the world we inhabit. More "Living on Earth.