Deforestation in Indonesia





Deforestation in Indonesia


Deforestation happens when areas that previously used to be forested are transformed for other purposes like for the agricultural sector logging or settlement activities. Deforestation has been on the increase in southern Asia leading to destruction of habitats and loss of plant and tree species. The deforestation started when president Soeharto nationalized the forests in Indonesia in 1976 leading to segregation of forested land into plantations and logging concessions which resulted in corruption, mismanagement and misuse of forests. However, the government has exploited various avenues to reverse the trend of deforestation. The avenues have also been backed by foreign support. Unfortunately, the efforts face several hindrances. Below are the effects of deforestation, the effort taken by the government and foreign agencies and the hindrances they encounter.

Effects of Deforestation

Most greenhouse gases emissions in Indonesia happen as a result of deforestation and clearing of land and burning of peat swamp forests for oil palm production and agricultural activities according to Chan this continued deforestation has impacted negatively on traditional ways of living, wildlife, and even production of the ecosystem (5). Furthermore, there is continued soil erosion, poor water retainability, landslides and reduced productivity. This act of logging has also unsecured animals’ habitat, endangering their survival. Such animals include as Sumatran tiger, orangutan, elephant and rhinoceroses. Plants of botanical and medicinal importance have also been lost. For instance, tree species in Malaysian and Singapore rainforests, whose extracts were discovered to possess ant-HIV properties in 1980s by scientists, became extinct due to deforestation (Butler). This case is crucial to Indonesia since it contains a larger number of valuable tree species in the whole world.

Solutions that have been taken by the government

The Key strategy that Indonesian government has implemented, since 1998, include the creation and strengthening administration of safeguarded forests, and advancing more maintainable forest management. According to World Bank (28) the progress in improving forest management could hold an additional 170 Mt CO2e per year.

Ministry of forestry was authorized to control over forests under recentralization efforts. This ministry has the potential to distribute “land conversion” consents and clear-cuts. In 2001, the ministry established that, in every mill, there was illegal timber being used. This saw the removal of three U.K purchasers from the Indonesian market (Chan, 10). The government has embarked on improving governance and fighting corruption menace, to end cases whereby Loggers collude, with officials, to harvest trees illegally.

The government is also engaging in raising the duties of private sectors to facilitate in safeguarding of forests conservation, where any activity will not be tolerated unless it is for study and education. Consequently, the Indonesia government embarked on a two-year Moratorium on burning of forests. The moratorium is believed to be part of one billion- dollar project with Norway to minimize green house emissions, which is known to cause global warming. The government targets to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to 26% by 2020.

Furthermore, the government introduced a timber legality verification system. This was to improve the governance issues in deforested areas and beef up regulations of illegal logging, which is greatest contributing factor to deforestation (OECD, 58). Indonesia also entered into an accord with European Union under Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The treaty requires licensed timber from Indonesia to be allowed in EU markets while aiming at blocking illegal logging in Indonesian forests (Chan, 5).

Foreign modalities

Another initiative, by the World Bank, to reward countries, which are advancing in safeguarding and management of forests, has targeted countries like Indonesia. This agreement was arrived at during the December 2007 under the thirteenth conference of parties to the UNFCCC in Bali. The World Bank congratulated their efforts, adding that the inclusion of existing forests in climate mitigation will be a viable framework in climate and conservation effort, in the world. The adoption of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) by Indonesia is yet to gained momentum and scientist has viewed it as a better tool to conserve its biodiversity, forests livelihoods and ecosystem functioning.

Hindrance to rehabilitation

Indonesia faces several challenges in fighting deforestation. It noted that poor coordination and overlapping duties between government branches accompanied with corruption and unclear legislation as the elements hindering the prevention of deforestation. Take the case where local institution still issue their own permits, the duty that should be taken by the ministry of forestry (Chan, 5). Given that Indonesia is a developing country, it can’t meet the billions of dollars required to fully rehabilitate its forests.


Indonesia should come up with effective law enforcement against the companies and agencies that involve in illegal logging. There should be also effective communication networks with all government agencies to launch reachable tracking system to the public. Other steps include improvement in transparency, and involving communities in conserving forests. Lastly, developed world needs to mount pressure on the government to swift the process of rehabilitation.

Works Cited

Chan, Alda. “Illegal Logging in Indonesia: The Environmental, Economic and Social Costs.” BlueGreen Alliance. April, 2010. Web. November 28, 2011 < >

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). OECD Economic Surveys: Indonesia 2010. Paris: OECD. 2010. Print.

Rhett, Butler. “The Jakarta Post: Will Indonesia lose the next oil palm?” 2008. Web. November 28, 2011. <>

World Bank. “Convenient solutions to an inconvenient truth: ecosystem-based approaches to climate change.” Washington, D.C. World Bank. 2010. Print.