Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has reiterated the government`s commitment to applying forestry development policies which are sustainable and able to improve the welfare of people living around forests.

"The Indonesian government is committed to implementing sustainable forestry development programs," the minister said at The Second International Workshop on South-South Cooperation (SSC) in Kampar District here on Tuesday.

Almost 67 percent of Indonesia`s land territory is covered by forest.

Therefore, Indonesia must be able to play an active role in tackling the impacts of climate change by involving all stakeholders, especially people living around forests, he said.

"We must understand that forests, especially in Indonesia, have historical and cultural ties with the local peoples, and this should be maintained," he said.

He hailed the workshop discussing the preservation efforts of the world`s remaining tropical rainforests, particularly in biosphere reserve management programs located in Indonesia, Brazil and Congo.

"I hope the biosphere reserve concept can become an instrument of policy in the sustainable forestry sector," he said.

Indonesia has seven biosphere reserves, namely in Siberut, Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu in Riau Province (Sumatra), Ujung Kulon (West Java), Cibodas (West Java), Tanjung Puting (Kalimantan), Lore Lindu (Central Sulawesi) and Komodo (East Nusa Tenggara).

The seven biosphere reserves are very much useful for the implementation of REDD (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programs, according to the minister.

The workshop was participated in by delegates from Congo, Brazil, Japan, China, Taiwan, Mali, France and the ten member countries of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asia Nations), namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

Forestry companies such as Sinar Mas Forestry and Riau Pulp were also represented in the workshop.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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