Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government organized an Indonesian Environment Week expo in Jakarta June 1-5 to mark World Environment Day (WED) 2011 which was observed globally on June 5.

The Indonesian Environment Week 2011 had 180 stands displaying among other things recycled goods and environmentally friendly products.

In line with this year`s theme of WED: "Nature at Your Service", Indonesia, as the world`s third largest forested country, must pay serious attention to the conditions of its forests, Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono said when officially opened the Indonesian Environment Week here on June 1, at the accompany of Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta.

"Environmental damages due to illegal logging activities, forest fires, and land conversion have worsened environmental conditions and added to the list of disasters in the country," he said.

The government has so far implemented tree planting programs such as the One Man One Tree and the Women Plan Tree that have contributed to the planting of a total of 1.3 billion trees.

"Lets change our way of thinking by planting tree any time we have an opportunity, and considering 1,000 times before cutting even a single tree. By planting trees, we will give our grand children a better environment," he said.

To protect the forests, the minister called for environmental preservation programs involving the participation of the people.

The environment ministry on the occasion signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Nahdatul Ulama (NU), the country`s largest Muslim organization) and the Indonesian Church Association on increasing the role of religious leaders in the preservation and management of the environment.

Environmental Affairs Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta on the occasion said the government would intensify the participation of people living surrounding forest areas in preserving the forests in order to increase their welfare.

"Around 1.6 million hectares of Indonesian forests decrease annually, while our tree planting capability is only half of it. However, we are now able to raise our tree planting capability to 1.06 million hectares with the involvement of the community," he said.

The environmental affairs minister said the environmental damages were mainly due to human activities.

He on the occasion also launched a National Ecoregion map which is designed to make development and space allocation plans compatible with environmental considerations.

The environmental affairs minister and the chief of the National mapping and Survey Coordinating Board (Bakosurtanal) signed an agreement document in the usage of geospatial information for environmental protection and management.

Bakosurtanal Chairman Dr Asep Karsidi said his office will provide a basic map for the ecoregion.

Environmental map such as a map on forest area coverage is getting more important to monitor the forest preservation in Indonesia, according to him.

When celebrating the WED 2011 in Jakarta, Sunday (June 5), Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta urged the Jakarta people to ride bicycles to keep the city`s air clean.

Transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emission in Jakarta, according to him.

"Around 47 percent of greenhouse gas emission in Jakarta is contributed by transportation and 40 percent by industry," Minister Gusti Muhammad said.

Based on the Indonesian environment index 2010 on the environmental condition in 2009, Jakarta was at the lowest rank because of its poor water and air quality and lack of green areas.

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the WED 2011`s theme "Forests: Nature at Your Service", is aimed to encourage forest conservation and sustainable consumption for green growth, and in support of the UN International Year of Forests initiative.

The World Environment Day 2011 was hosted for the first time in India to highlight all about positive action for the environment.

Beyond supporting the natural habitat, forests sustain economic growth. In 2004 trade in forest products was estimated at $327 billion. Continued and uncontrolled deforestation therefore not only has devastating consequences for the environment, the wildlife and communities, but for economies around the world.

Over 1.6 billion people are dependent on forests for their livelihoods, according to UNEP`s data. Yet despite providing such

essential services, the world is losing its forests at an alarming rate, with some 5.2 million hectares being cut down each year.

According to Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, Indonesia`s forest areas cover around 130 million hectares, comprising 45 million hectares of premier forests, 45 million hectares of logged over areas, and 40 million hectares of critical forest areas.

About 17 percent of all species in the world can be found in Indonesia, although it accounts for only 1.3 percent of the Earth`s land surface.

For her abundant flora and fauna species and a wide range of natural habitats, Indonesia has been acknowledged by scientists as one of the world`s mega centers of biodiversity.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Environmental Affairs Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta recently inaugurated several biodiversity parks to mark International Biological Diversity Day (IDB) 2011.

The newly inaugurated biodiversity parks are located in East Java, West Java and North Sulawesi Provinces. Later, similar biodiversity parks will also be built in other regions such as West Sumatra, Yogyakarta, and Lampung.

The establishment of biodiversity parks was aimed at preserving biodiversity in regions which have biodiversity with unique characteristics, Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said when commemorating the International Biological Diversity Day (IBD) at Cibodas Botanical Garden, Pangrango, Bogor, West Java, last May 22.

This year`s theme of IDB is "Forest Biodiversity", which coincides with 2011 as The International Year of Forests declared by the General Assembly to educate the global community about the value of forests and the extreme social, economic and environmental costs of losing them.

The destruction of forests is one of the most serious threats to the biodiversity loss.

To protect Indonesia`s tropical forests, the third largest forest area after Brazil and Congo, the government issued the long-awaited Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011 on Moratorium on New Logging Concessions for Primary Forests and Peat lands, last May 2011.

The presidential decree on a moratorium on logging concessions for two years is only applicable to primary forests and peat lands in conserved forests, protected forests, production forests and the Other Use Land (APL). Logging concessions still could be issued on secondary or degraded forests.

A number of environmental NGOs such as the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi), Greenpeace, WWF-Indonesia and CIFOR, therefore, want the moratorium to be applied in much more than over 64 million hectares of primary forest areas and peatleands.

The NGOs have pushed for a draft including secondary forest, because they believe protecting primary forest and peatlands alone would leave much important habitat unprotected.

Reporter: by Fardah
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2011