Sumatra

 

Down to Earth No 68  February 2006

Aceh's forests are being stripped in the name of post-tsunami reconstruction. In reality, the timber becomes part of lucrative international timber smuggling.

The products of illegal logging from South-east Aceh are transported to Sibolga on the west coast of North Sumatra, and from South Aceh to ports near Medan in North Sumatra. From there, they are exported to Malaysia and further afield.

Down to Earth No 67  November 2005

"There is no such thing as a spontaneous forest fire in Indonesia", forestry minister Kaban pronounced, as smoke from forest fires in Sumatra once again caused serious air pollution in Malaysia and Singapore from July to September.

The minister stated publicly that the fires are due to competing claims over 'unproductive' forest areas. There are some 17 million ha of forest land in Indonesia which has been over-logged or zoned for conversion, according to officials.

Down to Earth No 67  November 2005

New measures to promote fastwood plantations

Forestry minister Kaban has issued five new measures aimed at reducing illegal logging and reviving the timber industry. These support his policy announcement made in July about speeding up the establishment of fastwood plantations to supply the country's pulp and paper plants. Foreign companies will now be allowed to invest in timber plantations.

Down to Earth No 66  August 2005

Flash floods hit southeastern Aceh in late April, killing at least nineteen people and injuring dozens more. The disaster can be linked to the huge demand for reconstruction timber in post-tsunami Aceh.

The floods brought rocks, logs and water crashing down hillsides, completely destroying people's homes late on April 26th, when most villagers were asleep. The villages of Lawe Gerger, Lawe Mengkudu, and Lawe Lak-Lak in Southeast Aceh district, were worst hit.

Down to Earth No 65  May 2005

In an attempt to save forests and livelihoods, environmentalists have sought a judicial review of the government's 2004 decision to permit mining in protected areas.

The NGOs and individuals challenging the government on its pro-industry mining policy are focussing on the negative environmental, social and economic impacts.

Down to Earth No 64  March 2005

Will the tsunami disaster bring a greater debt burden for Indonesia's future generation?

An international summit to raise funds for relief in countries affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami, was held in Jakarta on January 6th.

Down to Earth No 64  2005

Indonesia owes around US$1.76 billion to the British government. While it is true that this represents just a small fraction of the overall external debt of US$132 billion, it is still a significant sum, far outstripping, for example, the $96 million that the UK government has pledged to the tsunami aid effort.

Most of Indonesia's debt to the UK (US$1.408bn) is in the form of export credit facilities, owed to Britain's Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD). The ECGD underwrites Indonesian contracts with private UK companies.