"This is what the government should take notice."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan said he supported the idea on extending forest moratorium, that will expire in May 2013, to preserve the Indonesian forests.

"I principally support to extend it (forest moratorium)... thus, the investment on forestry should be growing and managed that the environment become well-preserved," Minister Zulkifli Hasan said here on Thursday after opening the Fifth Indogreen Forestry Expo 2013.

The minister said the forest moratorium was beneficial to preserve the Indonesian forest area and there were many institutions that have supported the idea to extend it.

The Ministry is waiting the President to make decision about the forest moratorium, regulated in the President Decree No.11/2011, that will be expired in May 2013.

Hasan said the moratorium was not intended to hamper investment on forestry sector, but to keep the preservation of Indonesian forests.

However, he did not specify the period of the next term of moratorium, expected to be approved by the President.

Previously, The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) urged the Indonesian Government to extend the forest moratorium to prevent social and environmental conflict in the future.

"If the moratorium is not extended, we are certain in the next five years, social and environmental conflict would rise in the 25 million hectares of Indonesian forest area," Forest and Large Scale Plantation Campaign Manager of Walhi Zenzi Suhadi said.

The moratorium on primary forest and peat land should be extended and strengthened. "Not only by suspending the forest concession, but also improving the management of forest area and concession as well as determining the penalties against the violating institutions," Suhadi said.

Suhadi said the moratorium, had not been effectively conducted as the Forum found some attempts of local administrations and authorities to deceive the moratorium by proposing concession for residential area.

"There are many of them, agreed for residential area, turned into plantation areas. This is what the government should take notice," Suhadi said.

"The government should view the Natural Resource as the national`s and citizens` priceless asset, not to put itself as a tax collector for private enterprises which exploit the Indonesian forest," Suhadi said.

Or else, there would come into surface a phenomena of increasing social income without accompanied by improving social welfare because the local people will have to pay for what they can get freely from the forest, he said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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