Forests & forest fires

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

The idea of devolving authority to regional centres has been around for a long time. Indeed, incipient movements for autonomy and regional independence were strong in the first years of after independence, but clumsy CIA support triggered the centralist policies of the Sukarno regime. (Kahin, A.R. and Kahin, G.McT., 1995. Subversion as Foreign Policy: the Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia. The New Press, New York).

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

The government has decided that the repackaged Kalimantan mega-project will not after all go ahead, due to the huge problems the original project created. The disastrous million hectare project to convert peat swamp forests to rice-fields was launched in 1995 but was finally halted last year after the catastrophic environmental impacts became obvious.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

The situation of Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan is critical. Its head, Toni Suhartono, reckons 10 hectares of forest are cleared daily by illegal loggers. Much of this is the result of highly organised operations. Some 50 trucks per day transport logs out of the Park to the boom town of Sangatta where middle-men export them from the local port.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

The onset of the dry season saw the prospect of another regional 'haze' crisis as fires set by plantation companies clearing land spread out of control in the dry weather. A pall of smoke began to spread over parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan early in March and pollution levels reached hazardous levels. Indonesia's neighbours, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei sent letters urging the Indonesian government to take action.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

Indigenous communities whose forests have been plundered by logging companies are demanding compensation for the damage. Deprived of the protection they enjoyed under former President Suharto, the companies are having to take them seriously.

Down to Earth No. 44 February 2000

With the release of new maps and data on forest cover (or the lack of it) in Indonesia, the Jakarta government is having to face up to the country's rapid deforestation rate. International donors are pressing Wahid's government to take action now to stop illegal logging and to draw up a coherent medium-term national forestry programme.

Down to Earth No. 44, February 2000

A crisis in the oil palm industry is making a mockery of predictions that exports of the crop will help haul Indonesia out of its economic woes.

Export orders for Indonesian palm oil products fell sharply when the first shipment of palm oil, contaminated with diesel oil, was rejected by buyers in the Netherlands in October last year.