1RaeAnne SmithTSEASheridan: Period 423 May 2011 The Hunt for Wood Indonesia is an oceanic country located in South East Asia. Indonesia, being one of themost populated countries in the world, it requires a steady economy, which is largely dependenton its exportation of timber, pulp and various other natural resources. The demand for theseresources requires the destruction of millions of hectares (ha) of forests. The worldwide demandfor timber brings high prices in the international market which has helped Indonesiasinternational trade flourish ("Background information…"). This industry cannot be met at asustainable level, as the rate of deforestation increases with every year ("Indonesia aims…"). AsIndonesia continues to cut down its forests, they are shrinking at a unsettling rate. Moreover,with the burning of the trees, the carbon emissions of Indonesia are contributing to globalwarming ("Indonesia pledges…"). Although Indonesia is one of the most environmentallydiverse countries in the world, deforestation is leading the extinction of many animal and plantspecies that only live in Indonesia. In response to this, the government has passed many laws toprevent further destruction of its forests. Indonesia has also made agreements with other nations,who pledge to give the country money in return for the reduction of their carbon emissions. Thegovernment is also working with many environmental groups to stop its growing deforestationissue. Despite this, the government does not strictly uphold these laws and deforestationcontinues, and many experts would agree, they are making unrealistic goals for the future(Padden). Furthermore, many animal species inhabit these forests and only thrive in the ones
2specific to Indonesia. With the decreasing forests, these animals are becoming endangered andcould possibly bring them to extinction. Although the deforestation of Indonesia provides someeconomic benefit to the country, it has more negative economic, political and environmentalimpacts. A positive aspect of Indonesias deforestation is that it increases the revenue of thecountry. The demand for timber is very high worldwide. Since this demand is so high, the priceof timber is also very high, which is beneficial to the Indonesian economy. In the 1970sIndonesia began to develop its wood-processing industries to use its valuable resource of timberto improve the economy of the country ("Background information…"). The government hasgiven permission to favored companies to convert 16 million ha of forest to conversion to timberor other agricultural plantations (Stolle). Additionally, much of the deforestation of Indonesia isa result of the palm oil plantations. In 2008, the estimated GDP of Indonesia was about 510.5billion dollars with an increase of about five percent per year as a result of the growingimportance of industries in Indonesia. ("The Economic Benefit…" and World Bank). Many ofthe industries contributing to the growth of the economy are from palm oil and the exportation oftimber. Overall, the great majority of Indonesias economic growth and success is due to itsforest-related exports. Although Indonesia is currently benefitting economically from deforestation, this demandcannot be maintained at a sustainable level. The total amount of forest cover in Indonesia isabout 88 million ha. The rate at which deforestation is occurring is increasing. In the 1980s,about one million ha per year were cleared and in the 1990s this number rose to about 1.7 millionha. In 1996, this number increased to about 2 million ha (Stolle). If about 2 million ha per year offorest is cut down and the total amount of forest in Indonesia is only 88 million ha, the forests
3would only be able to provide timber for about 40 years (Butler). Illegal logging is also a greatcontributor to deforestation and is adding to the instability of the forests. "Illegal logging hasreached epidemic proportions as a result of Indonesias chronic structural imbalance betweenlegal wood supply and demand" (Stolle). Along with illegal logging, legal logging also is notconducted at a sustainable level. In 1995 there were 17 million ha of legal timber productionforests but in only 5 years there were under 8 million ha left. Given the rate at whichdeforestation is occurring, it is likely that the forests will be completely gone in only years. Ifthis happens, not only will the forests be gone, but Indonesia will have lost its most importantsource of economic gain. As the Indonesian government has realized that deforestation has become such a hugeissue, it has begun to pass many laws to restrict deforestation. Some of the laws passed toprevent deforestation include, a sentence of life in prison or death for anyone who financesillegal logging, 10 years in prison for anyone who assists illegal logging, 3-10 years in prison foranyone transporting illegal timber and 5-15 years of imprisonment for holding or handling illegaltimber ("Special Regulation…"). Along with the passage of these laws, Indonesia has alsobecome involved with many groups that work against deforestation. Indonesian President SusiloBambang Yudhoyono announced that he would willingly reduce Indonesias carbon emissions by42 percent by the year 2020, and in exchange, through REDD, Norway would pay them onebillion dollars to help preserve the forests. In addition, Indonesia has also promised to create atwo- year moratorium of the clearing of the forests ("Indonesia aims…"). Agus Purnomo fromthe National Council on Climate Change stated that: "if there are other economic activities whichwill be created by this financial assistance, then the local communities, the local companies andthe local governments will be able to continue their economic development activities without
4damaging the forests" (Indonesia aims…"). With the money that is being paid to Indonesia byNorway, the need for deforestation will cease, as the money will bring about new businesses andprovide financial aid. Since the fall of President Suharto, access to official informationconcerning deforestation has improved (Stolle). Moreover, "Indonesia was one of the firstcountries to sign the Convention on Biological Diversity and to prepare a National BiodiversityStrategy and Action Plan" ("Background information…"). Since the people of Indonesia havebecome more aware of the seriousness of the situation of deforestation, they have been takingincreased action to prevent this growing issue. Despite the fact that the government is taking many steps towards limiting deforestation,they are not strictly enforcing the laws put in place. Agus Purnomo of the Council on ClimateChange says that "If you are living in area where there are no other economic activities you arebound to cut the trees" ("Indonesia aims…"). Even if the government passes laws to preventillegal logging people will continue to illegally log the forests, if they have no other means ofeconomic gain. An issue in agreeing to make significant reforms quickly, is that governments aresometimes hesitant to take action to prevent it because they are expensive to develop or theyconflict with land right issues" (Butler). The ban of deforestation was supposed to be put in placein January of 2011, but is currently not because the Indonesian government is struggling to figureout ways to make environmental gains without hurting the economy (Padden). The process ofreducing deforestation is not a simple process but will be extremely difficult, "It will require […]determining who controls what rights to land; tackling corruption; redirecting misplacedincentives that drive deforestation…" (Butler). Many experts agree that the terms made byIndonesia are unrealistic. Yuyun Idradi, Green Peace campaigner states that the ban will onlycover the new land permits and exempt the old ones. He also says that the majority of the areas
5that are meant to be put under the ban are already protected and that putting a new ban on themwill have no effect. Climate Change Group member Robert Daniel states that "Very little forestwill be protected as a result of the moratorium" (Padden). Overall, the results of the moratoriumwill not be seen immediately as the process will be long and hard. This is a result of thegovernments inability to enforce their laws and cooperate to significantly reduce deforestationand carbon emissions. Finally, the deforestation of Indonesia has led to the loss of one of the mostenvironmentally diverse forests in the world, killing many native plant and animal species aswell as emitting carbon into the atmosphere and contributing to global climate change. Once theforests of Indonesia are cut down, the rotting trees release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.Additionally, the burning of the forests results in the release of carbon as well. In total this addsup to about 20% of greenhouse gases from humans (“Indonesia pledges…”). Over the years, as aresult of deforestation, the forest cover is now less than half of its original amount. Fires burndown the forests regularly and the resulting air pollution causes health issues that are evidenteven in other countries. After China and the United States, Indonesia is now the world’s thirdlargest emitter of greenhouse gases (Butler). Furthermore, the deforestation of Indonesia isdestroying the habitats of many species of animals. This has pushed these species to the brink ofextinction. Some examples of animals that are highly endangered in Indonesia include elephantsand tigers. “In the past 25 years, elephant populations in Riau fell 84 percent to only 210animals, while tiger populations were estimated to have tumbled by 70 percent to perhaps just192 individuals…” (Reuters). Another animal that is highly endangered as a result of thedeforestation of Indonesia is the orangutan. “Estimates are that as many as 2000 orangutans, outof a population of only 50,000 to 60,000 animals, are lost every year” (Smith). In an area of
6Indonesia known as the Tripa Swamps which are located on the west side of Aceh, the forestcover fell by 37,000 ha in a period of four years, from 1993 and 1997. As a result, about 62percent of the orangutan population in this area declined from 1,350 to only 510 individuals("The oil for ape…"). This clearly illustrates how deforestation is leading to the extinction of theanimals living in this habitat. The issue of endangered animals in Indonesia is quickly rising.Many of these species are native only to Indonesia and will not be able to survive in othercountries. If deforestation cannot be stopped, then many of these species will go extinct in thefuture. Although deforestation of Indonesia has increased the revenue of the country, it cannot beconducted at a sustainable level. As the government becomes aware of this issue, they pass manylaws to restrict deforestation but do not enforce them effectively. Ultimately, the deforestation ofIndonesia is leading to increased carbon emissions into the atmosphere, contributing to overallclimate change, and is leading to the loss of many of the animals and plants native to Indonesia.The deforestation of Indonesia is a serious world issue. The government is not effectivelyenforcing the laws put into place to prevent it and they are not making realistic goals for futurereduction of deforestation. This ineffectiveness is leading to the extinction of many animals, suchas orangutans, elephants and tigers, which are native only to Indonesia and it is contributing toglobal warming and climate change.
7 Works Cited"Background information on Indonesia, deforestation and illegal logging." Abc.net.au. Four Corners. 2002. Web. 19 Mar. 2011.Butler, Rhett. "Indonesias Corruption Legacy Clouds a Forest Protection Plan." Yale.edu. Global Forest Watch. 27 Dec. 2010. Web. 19 Mar. 2011.Friends of the Earth, et al. "The Oil For Ape Scandal: How Palm Oil Is Threatening Orang-Utan Survival." Sep. 2005. Print."Indonesia aims to halt deforestation." CNN News. CNN. 27 Nov. 2010. Web. 7 Mar. 2011."Indonesia pledges two-year deforestation moratorium." BBC News. BBC. 27 May 2010. Web. 7 Mar. 2011.Padden, Brian. "Indonesias Deforestation Moratorium Still On Hold." VoANews.com. Voice of America. 14 Apr. 2011. Web. 20 May 2011.Reuters. "Indonesian Deforestation Threatens Elephants: WWT." Enn.com. ENN: Environmental News Network. 27 Feb. 2008. Web. 10 Mar. 2011.Smith, Dawn. "Indonesias Endangered Orangutan: Palm Oil And Pet Trade Threaten Worlds Only Arboreal Great Ape." Thekindnessclinic.com. Wildlife Preservation. 7 Nov. 2007. Web. 13 Mar. 2011."Special Regulation Pending A Law (Perpu) On Illegal Logging - (Draft)." Dte.gn.apc.org. DTE. 1 Jul. 2004. Web. 10 Mar. 2011.Stolle, Fred. "Indonesias Forests in Brief." Globalforestwatch.org. Global Forest Watch. n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2011."World Development Indicators." Data.worldbank.org. The World Bank. n.d. Web. 21 May. 2011.
8World Growth. "The Economic Benefit Of Palm Oil To Indonesia." World Growth: Palm Oil Green Development Campaign. Feb. 2011. Web. 21 Mar. 2011.