Warns Against Lumbering Natural Forest

Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifly Hassan warned logging companies to stop harvesting trees from natural woodlands immediately, otherwise they will see their concession revoked by the government, local media reported here on Tuesday.

Minister Zulkifli Hasan’s warning was aimed not only at logging firms granted concessions this year, but also at timber companies still harvesting trees from natural forest concessions they had been granted in 2010.

“We are reorganizing the management of the pulp and paper industry,” Zulkifli said on Monday.

“Previously, they had been allowed to cut down trees from natural forests, but after 2010, not anymore.”

The reorganization comes as part of a two-year moratorium, due to start this month on granting new concessions in peatlands and primary forests.

The moratorium is part of a bilateral agreement with Norway, in exchange for which Indonesia will receive $1 billion in funding for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD-Plus) schemes.

“We are hoping that in 2011, they (2010 permits holders) are already done with their cutting and are starting planting activities,” the minister was quoted by the Jakarta Globe as saying.

However, he said firms which obtained their logging permits before 2010 were allowed to continue harvesting in primary forests.

Firms found to be in violation of the order would be punished, Zulkifli said.

“For sanctions, the ministry has already issued a regulation stating that if the company fails to comply within two years, then, we will revoke their permits.”

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