Saturday, 28 November 2009 | 6:38 AM
BANJARMASIN, KOMPAS.com - The rate of forest destruction in Indonesia reaches 1.1 million hectares a year, state minister for environmental affairs, Gusti Muhammad Hatta, said here on Friday. He said the government meanwhile could only rehabilitate up to 500,000 hectares a year.
He said it was feared the gap would worsen the impact of global warming in the country as well as in the world. He said temperature had now rose up to four degrees making the sea level to rise up to 80 centimeters high.
If the condition is ignored 30 to 40 million people in the country would be threatened to become victims of the impact of global warming such as floods, natural disasters and others. "In view of that I call on all the people in Indonesia to conduct tree planting, minimally one person planting one tree to slow the pace of the global warming," he said.
He said his office had already coordinated with other ministries to conduct environmental improvements. In connection with it he said he and his staff had visited all the ministries concerned to seek full support.
"Sometimes my fellow ministers are often egoistic and therefore I have to be willing to come to meet him," he said.
Forestry minister Zulkifli Hasan meanwhile he had tightened the issuance of licenses for conducting tree felling for industry, mining or plantation development.
"The future of Indonesia is not relied upon the price of its wood but upon the sustainability of its forests," he said.
In view of that he said he would prioritize forest rehabilitation in his first one hundred days in office.
He said the government had provided Rp2 trillion in reforestation funds this year and would increase it to Rp2.6 trillion next year and higher further in the years to come. To meet the needs of industry he said wood from people’s forests would be taken.
He said many forest areas had now turned into mining or plantation areas while permits for using the area and disposing the forest had not been issued. In South Kalimantan, he said, the area reached hundred thousand hectares and in Central Kalimantan million hectares and so did in Sumatra.
"The problems must be solved one by one because the number is too high," he said.
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