Indonesia extends rainforest conservation deal with Norway

Indonesia has extended a logging ban aimed at protecting rainforest despite fierce industry pressure, the government said Wednesday, although green groups say the move still does not go far enough.

Swathes of rainforest have been chopped down by palm oil, mining and timber companies in Southeast Asia’s top economy, which has become the world’s third-biggest carbon emitter as a result.

Under a $1-billion conservation deal with Norway, President Susilo Bambang  Yudhoyono two years ago signed the moratorium, which bans new logging permits  for primary, or virgin, forest, defined as forest not logged in recent history.

On Wednesday, the government confirmed Yudhoyono had signed a two-year extension, as had been widely expected, and the moratorium would remain in its original form.

“The extension on the moratorium of new permits will be in place for two years from when the presidential instruction is issued,” said a statement from the cabinet secretariat, which deals with presidential decrees.

The ban applies to new permits for primary forests and peat lands with the exception of projects already approved by the forestry minister and others considered vital, such as for power production, it said.



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