Deforestation in Indonesia


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Deforestation in Indonesia

  1. 1. Cho 1 SukYoung Cho Period 3 TSEA Deforestation in Indonesia: The Road Not Taken Ronald Reagan once quoted “trees, how many of „em do we need to look at?”.Countries such as Indonesia have their total forest area represented by 84% of their totalland area. Furthermore, the Indonesia archipelago of about 17,000 islands is the home tosome of the most biodiverse forests in the world. Although it may seem that the worldhas plenty of forests and wildlife, at present rates of deforestation, tropical rainforests incountries such as Indonesia would be logged out by 2020. Countries other thanIndonesia, will also suffer from deforestation if people believe that the benefits ofdeforestation outweighs its costs. Even though deforestation in Indonesia has lead toincreased revenue and employment; the negative consequences of social troubles, lossof potential income, and environmental concerns offsets the benefits; therefore,activities leading to deforestation should be halted. The start of deforestation in Indonesia has gradually become one of the mainsources of revenue for the country. Unfortunately, deforestation in tropical countries isoften driven by the economic thought that “forests are worth more dead than alive”(Clough). For example, forest products exports in developing countries in 1994 were$114 billion (Butler). The success of logging in Indonesia has been significant for thecountry, so the country has no choice but to continuously export its natural heritage(Environmental). Therefore, the governments of many other countries ironicallyencourage businesses to start illegal logging (Background). Countries can benefit from 1
  2. 2. Cho 2lumber products, which are staple construction materials; without lumber it would behard for to live, which brings its success (Clough). There are many reasons whydeforestation is a reliable source of revenue for a country. The UNFCC Conference ofParties, recently reported that the financial gains generate by logging has beensignificant over the last 10-20 years of Southeast Asia (Clough). Deforestation indeveloping countries such as Indonesia can be beneficial because it can provide accessto other natural resources, hidden within the forests land; for instance, iron ore, minerals,etc). Without the effective role of deforestation on Indonesia, the country would bedevastated and be further behind in the market. On the other hand, there are potential financial benefits that could help increaserevenue for Indonesia, without the logging of the environment. Some countries believethat “forests are worth more dead than alive” (Clough), however new studies by aninternational association of researchers reported that the market for carbon credits haspotential to alter the thought that deforestation is the only path. Carbon credit is alicense that permits the owner to emit one ton of carbon dioxide; these licenses areawarded to countries or associations, when they have reduced their green house gasbelow the emission standards. This market helps hault deforestation, while increasingrevenue; however, there will be countries remaining deforestation, which will ultimatelyresult in a loss of revenue for the governments (Environmental). For instance, TheWorld Bank predicts that governments worldwide lose about $5 billion in revenue peryear for illegal logging, while timber-producing countries lose another $10 billion peryear (Butler). Deforestation could also negatively affect an economy because the actionsinfluence ecotourism; when people travel to visit eco-sites, which brings billions of 2
  3. 3. Cho 3dollars per year (Butler). Recently, tourists‟ levels in Singapore, Malaysia, andIndonesia have dropped due to the smog created by forest fires. Another way to recoverthe consequences of deforestation is to market non-wood products such as nuts, fruits,etc. In 1996, the income of non-wood products was estimated to be around $90 billion(Butler). The governments in developing countries such as Indonesia approve ofdeforestation/illegal logging because the market provides unlimited amounts ofemployment to society. Because the forest based product market is high in Indonesia,the amount of people employed is also high. For example, palm oil is now considered amajor source of income for Indonesia; which is why more than 3.5 million people areemployed (Environmental). Without this business, the locals of the country would bejobless, and without a future. The consequences are higher than the consequences ofdeforestation; without the employment, the governments‟ income would drastically dropand put the country in a panic state. Other than palm oil, the country‟s people work aswood cutters, and processing plants to make glue. It is clearly noticeable that in acountry like Indonesia, the hault of deforestation could severely hurtful. Society as awhole would suffer if millions of Indonesian workers were to suddenly be jobless.There have been several questions to workers, asked if they would rather worksomewhere else with better conditions? In which the locals mostly answer that there isnowhere else to go, and they are thankful to even have a chance to work in deforestationsectors. The wood-product industry provides great advantages to a country, and will bedifficult to hault. 3
  4. 4. Cho 4 Alternatively, the effects of deforestation do not only help employ the locals inIndonesia, but unfortunately, destroys their social lives. While destroyed wildlife couldhelp as a livestock, and plantation, the removal of trees without sufficient reforestation(restore), has resulted in negative impacts such as damage to villages and the health ofinnocent people. Without the proper treatment of the forests, soil erosions occur anddestroy villages of innocent families, leaving no trace. In addition, business‟s aim toemploy the poorer people lured from villages and deprived neighborhoods. The businessdoes this to reduce costs in salary, treatment, etc. There are many well-known incidentsof human right abuses; when workers are put to work in barbaric conditions, sometimeseven at gunpoint and without escape. Children are forced to work in unbelievable jobshifts, with very less pay; if employees are sick, there is no care, and are abandoned andreplaced. Indonesia has benefited from the income of deforestation; however, theenvironmental costs greatly outweigh any other benefits. In the 1900s, Indonesia‟sforest was still dense, covering 84% of the total land area. However, illegal logging wasintroduced, and the associated illegal trade directly started threatening the ecosystemand biodiversity in forests throughout the world including Indonesia (Background).From then on, the impact of deforestation on the Indonesian environment became severe.The loss of wildlife in Indonesia includes habitat loss for endangered species; such asthe Sumatran Rhino and the Orangutans (Environmental). These species had theirtraditional habitat destroyed, and had no other choice but to live carefully among thehuman population (Butler). Moreover, if developing countries such as Indonesia furtherdevelop their economies with the help of illegal logging/deforestation, then they will 4
  5. 5. Cho 5continue to deplete their forest supply (Butler). For instance, during 2000 and 2005, theUN Food and Agriculture Organization estimate that Indonesia lost about 1.87 millionhectare of forest each year; over 5 years logging caused Indonesia to lose forests thesize of Portugal (Environmental). Another issue considered is drastic climate changedue to the severe changes in forest population. In the water cycle, rain clouds areformed by moisture transpired from the land below; however, deforestation causes theamount of moisture to reduce therefore resulting in less rain (Butler). The locals ofIndonesia greatly rely on the supply of rain, so if the cycle is stopped or reduced, therewill be great costs. Not only does deforestation cause rain shortage,, but with forestlogging, the Indonesian community loses the system that ensures standard flow ofhealthy water and the protection of floods and droughts (Butler). Deforestation causesfloods and droughts because; the forest acts as a sponge during rainfall; soaking up thewater brought by storms and releasing the collected water at regular distances (Butler).Without this system, the rainfall rapidly flows into rivers: increasing water level (Local).Without the secure natural system of forests, the social lives of the locals could begreatly impacted. The reduction of deforestation, could ensure Indonesia‟s growth in other ways.The costs of climate change, loss of potential income, and environmental concernsoutweighs the minor benefits of deforestation: increased government revenue andemployment. The arguments clearly show that deforestation should not be the roadtaken; many countries such as Indonesia have realized the consequences and plan onchanging their actions. For example, through the Reducing Emissions fromDeforestation (REDD), Norway has promised to give Indonesia up to one billion dollars 5
  6. 6. Cho 6to suggest the half of deforestation. The Indonesian government has also been actingtowards this, in January 2011; the government is going to begin a two-year ban ondeforestation/illegal logging. Forests and wildlife certainly deserve more because “apeople without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almostas helpless”, Theodore Roosevelt. 6
  7. 7. Cho 7Work Cited"Background Information on Indonesia, Deforestation and Illegal Logging." Web. 22 Nov. 2010.Butler, Rhett A. “Destruction of Renewable Resources.” / A Place Out of Time: Tropical Rainforests and the Perils They Face. 9 January 2006.Butler, Rhett A. "Impact of Deforestation - Local and National Effects." Rainforests. Mongobay, 9 Jan. 2006. Web. 16 Dec. 2010.Clough, Greg. "Report Finds Deforestation Offers Very Little Money Compared to Potential Financial Benefits." EurekAlert! - Science News. 3 Dec. 2007. Web. 16 Dec. 2010."WWF - Environmental Problems in Indonesia." WWF - WWF. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. 7