Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is determined to turn Indonesia into the world`s largest wood producer in the next 25 years without destroying natural forests, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said.
To achieve the goal, the government would among others intensify tree-planting campaigns in which each citizen was expected to plant at least 10 trees, he said on the sidelines of a discussion with bloggers here on Friday night.
"If the entire people can plant 10 trees each, the Indonesian forests can be restored in 30 years` time. To support the endeavor, I have not issued new permits since 2007," he said.
The Forestry Ministry recorded about 30 percent of the country`s forests was damaged in the past 60 years with an annual deforestation rate of 1.08 million hectares.
To date, the area of damaged forests in Indonesia reaches 65 million hectares or 50 percent of the country`s forests covering about 130 million hectares.
"The Indonesian forests are now in critical condition as for tens of years the state has relied on them for revenues," he said.
Therefore, it came as no major surprise if the area of Indonesian forests dwindled at a fast pace every year, he said.
He put the blame on excessive exploitation for the current deforestation.
In addition, he added the deforestation was also caused by the frequent conversion of forested land into plantations and the use of forested land for mining activities.
This year alone, the ministry prepared 500 million seeds to reforest arid and barren land in the country. "The seeds are available at the forestry ministry and its regional offices all over Indonesia free of charge," he said.
The regional autonomy in which local governments could easily issue permits to foreign investors also contributed to the deforestation, he said.
(T.SYS/A/S012/A/A014) 15-10-2011 16:53:02