Jakarta (ANTARA News) - To make a valuable contribution to the fight against global climate change, state-owned airline company PT Garuda Indonesia cares deeply about forest preservation.

The company has carried out tree planting activities to help sustain forests in in a number of areas across the country to provide wider environmental and socio-economic benefits.

In the Gunung Padang forest area in West Sumatra, national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia Airlines planted thousands of trees recently.

"Thousands of the trees Garuda has planted at Gunung Padang forest area are made up of various kinds including Mahogany and Meranti," Garuda Padang branch general manager Dedi Irawan said in Padang on Sunday.

In the natural rain forest, Mahogany is a very large canopy tree, sometimes reaching over 150 feet in height with trunks sometimes more than 6 feet in diameter above a large basal buttress.

Mahogany is a generally open-crowned tree with gray to brownish-red fissured bark, and is regarded by many as the world`s premier wood for fine cabinetry, high-class furniture, pianos and other musical instruments, figured and decorative veneer, interior trim, and carving.

Besides Mahogany, Meranti is also an important emergent tree of the tropical forests in Asia. Its wood is light to medium weight and widely used for light construction and more importantly for veneers.

Many other forest products are derived from Meranti, which is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Theales, family Dipterocarpaceae.

Dedi Irawan said the Mahogany and Meranti tree planting activity by Garuda Indonesia was conducted at Gunung Padang in West Sumara because he area has been deforested.

"If reforestation is not done immediately at Gunung Padang forest area, it will would have a bad impact on the people living nearby," Dedi Irawan said.

According to him, sustainable reforestation at critical land through the government projects and public participation was one way to prevent any future natural disasters such as floods.

"The tree planting activity to help prevent erosion and restore critical land because of illegal logging is part of Garuda Indonesia`s concern for environmental damage," Dedi Irawan said.

"Forest is a buffer for the life of surrounding communities, and therefore Garuda Indonesia is very concerned about the destruction of forests due to illegal logging," he added.

Dedi said the tree planting activity at Gunung Padang forest area by Garuda was in cooperation with Padang city administration
to restore forest sustainability.

He added that Garuda started environmental care program of "One Passenger One Tree in 2007 as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Garuda Indonesia).

Garuda Indonesia also carried out tree planting activity in Aceh province in January last year in cooperation with the International Leuser Foundation (YLI) and the provincial government of Aceh to help sustain the forests in the province.

At the time Garuda President Director Emirsyah Satar said the planting of 24,000 trees in Aceh reflected the state-owned airline company`s care about forest preservation and community economic improvement.

According to garudamagazine.com, Garuda Indonesia has realized an environmental protection program to help mitigate global climate change by rehabilitating the forest through tree replanting at Sebangau National Park in Central Kalimantan following the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) in November 2007.

The reforestation in the Sebangau National Park covers an area of 250 hectares and involves 100,000 trees, which were planted by setting aside part of the proceeds from ticket sales to passengers flying on Garuda Indonesia routes from Australia and Japan.

In his remarks, Emirsyah Satar said at the time that the tree planting activity was in line with Garuda Indonesia`s program of concern for natural conservation and also with the efforts of the global aviation industry to achieve "clear sky" operation by 2050.

Emirsyah Satar also noted that the activity was expected to create opportunities for economic improvement for the local community through development of ecotourism in Sebangau National park, much as Garuda Indonesia has already done in Yogyakarta through the "One Passenger One Tree" program.

An agro-ecotourism zone has been developed in Karang Tengah, Yogyakarta, through planting of 50,000 Mahogany and Cashew trees, from which golden silk would be produced that is unique in the world.

Garuda Indonesia has done this for several interrelated reasons: to spur more tourists to visit Yogyakarta, especially those who are interested in agro-ecotourism; to empower and foster local silkworm farmers; and to conserve the environment by planting trees with productive economic value.

Carbon Positive believes that tree planting can and will make a valuable contribution to the fight against global climate change.

It believes that carbon markets in their various forms are key to providing an effective means of financing tree-planting activities on the scale needed to make a difference globally.

Planting trees is hugely beneficial to the world in the face of accelerating climate change for there is a strong international scientific consensus that human activity is causing global warming.

At a local level, tree planting on deforested lands will create further environmental benefits because forests play a vital role in regulating water supplies, helping to reduce both water shortages in times drought and damaging floods in heavy rains.

Forests also provide habitats for a wide array of plants and animal species, a number of which are threatened with extinction by deforestation.

Therefore Garuda Indonesia`s care about forest preservation is expected to help support the local community`s livelihood, and through its tree planting activity, Garuda is a pioneer in conservation among state-owned enterprises.

Reporter: by Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
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