Greenpeace: Indonesia Planning to Clear, Convert Natural Forests

A forest in Indonesia. The land the country has allocated for industrial plantation expansion includes parts of an existing natural forest, according to Greenpeace International. Photo by: Jean-Marc / CC BY Jean-MarcCC BY

Indonesia is planning to classify portions of its natural forests as “degraded land” to be able to clear and convert them to palm and biofuel plantations using nearly USD1 billion worth of climate aid from Norway, an international environment-oriented non-governmental organization has claimed.

Citing internal documents from Indonesia’s agriculture, energy and agriculture departments, Greenpeace International said the land the country has allocated for industrial plantation expansion includes parts of an existing natural forest.

“The land is roughly equivalent to all the currently undeveloped land in Indonesia,” a newly published Greenpeace International report states as quoted by the Guardian. “The government plans for a trebling of pulp and paper production by 2015 and a doubling of palm oil production by 2020.”

“[The money] earmarked for forest protection may actually be used to subsidize their destruction with significant climate, wildlife and social costs,” the report further claims.

Indonesia and Norway have declined to comment until they have seen the Greenpeace report, the Guardian says.

At the Oslo Climate Forest Conference held May 27, Norway pledged to provide USD1 billion to help Indonesia reduce its annual carbon emissions. As part of the deal, Indonesia said it will impose a two-year ban on natural forest-clearing activities.

>> Countries Agree on Forest Aid Guidelines

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.