Jakarta (ANTARA) - Restoring forest areas can help reduce deforestation and achieve the forestry sector's net sink target, according to IPB University's Professor of Forestry, Herry Purnomo.

"First, fix the forest areas, especially production forests that (have been converted) into plantations. This must be prevented," he told ANTARA here on the occasion of One Million Tree Planting Day, which is celebrated every January 10.

Purnomo, who also serves as a researcher at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), said restoration efforts sometimes become complicated when forest functions are switched and they are already inhabited by communities.

However, he still pushed for a re-consideration for small farmers and law enforcement for bigger entrepreneurs.

"Second, conduct reforestation on degraded lands," he suggested. Moreover, the certainty of land management needs to be elucidated, he stressed.

The third step is the economic development of forest areas through efforts such as ecotourism so that forests exert a large positive economic influence on the surrounding communities, he explained.

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Support from non-governmental players, such as non-profit organizations, and the private sector is also urgently needed to encourage sustainable forest management, Purnomo said.

In particular, he highlighted some products that can be utilized that do not cause deforestation.

"It actually aligns (with the efforts against forest degradation). We do not need to be enemies but use it to strengthen anti-deforestation in Indonesia (which can open) opportunities to get a high market," he explained.

In addition to the three steps, he said that tree plantation by various parties can have an impact on reforestation efforts. However, the planting movement needs to be followed up by a commitment to taking care of the trees to ensure their sustainability, he added.

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Translator: Prisca V, Kenzu T
Editor: Suharto
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