Indonesia fighting deforestation: “A lot of talk, but no action”

Davey Meelker

We crossed Sumatra by land, from the southeast corner of Lampung to the northwest corner of Aceh. From the moment we disembarked the ferry we mostly saw palm tries and mining. The rainforest is diminished to only a few national parks. A taxi driver told us that around ten years ago he barely couldn’t drive his car, because of thick smoke covering Sumatra. The island, then for the greater part existing out of rainforest, was burning to make way for plantations and mining corporations. Unfortunately, this is not only the destiny for Sumatra, but also for many other places in and outside Indonesia.

Besides being mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as the country where people served largest servings of noodles, caught the most lemons blindfolded, snapped the most chopsticks in a minute and with the highest consumption of cigarettes, Indonesia had the doubtful honour to be mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records in 2008 as the record holder of the highest annual rate of forest destroyed between 2000 in 2005: 1.8 million hectares every year meaning 300 football fields every hour.

This makes Indonesia the third largest emitter of green house gasses , since by burning trees carbon dioxide, stored in the tree, is released. Furthermore, the clearing and draining of peat-lands causes oxidation. Altogether this causes around 85% of Indonesian’s emission of greenhouse gasses. It is estimated that the rainforest clearance is responsible for 25% to 30% of the greenhouse gasses emission. Not to mention the reduction of capacity of the earth to absorb it. It is evident that the deforestation is a great blow for the huge bio-diversity of Indonesian rainforest. It is plausible that certain species will die out before they are even discovered.  And what are the implications for the people who lived for generations in the jungle?

Three journalists –  Step Vaessen, Michel Maas and Lesthia Kertopati – from Aljazeera, Dutch and Indonesian media, share their view with us about the Indonesian deforestation. Their predictions are sad. In order to fight the deforestation, Indonesia needs fight the widespread corruption first. Or is it maybe better to wait for the next generation to take over? Watch it above!

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