Four kinds of exceptions to apply in forest clearing moratorium

"So if there is a degraded forest that needs to be restored, the moratorium can be ignored," Agus Purnomo said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is to make four kinds of exceptions in the implementation of Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011 on Moratorium on New Logging Concessions for Primary Forests and Peat lands, a presidential aide said.

"In enforcing the moratorium, the government will make certain exceptions," Agus Purnomo, the President`s Special Assistant on Climate Change, said here Friday.

The first category of exceptions would be on logging concessions covered by "in principle" permits from the forestry minister. Also exempted from the moratorium would be forest clearing to make room for vital national development projects, namely geothermal, oil and gas explorations and exploitation, electricity, paddy fields and sugarcane plantations.

The third category of exceptions would be on areas covered by extended development permits as long the concession holder`s business license was still valid.

The moratorium would also not apply to forest clearing to be done in the interest of ecosystem restoration.

"So if there is a degraded forest that needs to be restored, the moratorium can be ignored," Agus Purnomo said.

The presidential decree on a moratorium on logging concessions for two years was only applicable to primary forests and peat lands in conserved forests, protected forests, production forests and the Other Use Land (APL).

This meant that logging concessions still could be issued on secondary forests.

Based on forestry ministry 2010 data, Indonesia has 64.2 million hectares of primary forests, 24.5 million hectares of peat lands. Meanwhile, 7.4 million hectares of peat lands are located inside primary forests.

Secondary forests cover a total area of 36.6 million hectares.

"The data could change any time," Agus said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has already signed a regulation that imposes a moratorium on forest clearing activity, according to Agus Purnomo earlier.

"The President has said he signed a presidential regulation declaring a moratorium on forest clearing activity," Agus Purnomo said here Thursday.

Agus, however, could not give more detailed information on the regulation because the document was still in the hands of the cabinet secretary, and he had not yet received a copy of the regulation.

The presidential regulation signed by the head of state was a combination and simplification of two drafts proposed respectively by the forestry ministry and the UN REDD Task Force, Agus said.

The moratorium on new concessions in peatland and primary forests is part of a Letter of Intent (LOI) between Indonesia and Norway, called the Oslo Accord. (f001/B/HAJM/17:15/f001)