BOGOR, Indonesia (16 May, 2011)_17 journalists from all over Indonesia attended a workshop in Bali in April on REDD+ and the role of wetlands in climate change. Hailing from the big Jakarta newspapers as well as from regional outlets in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua and Bali, the group learnt about the science of climate change from some world-class forest scientists.
The workshop was held in partnership with Internews, a Washington D.C.- based media training organization, and the Society of Indonesian Environmental Journalists.
“There has been some exciting new research out,” said Jeff Hobson, from Internews in a short film produced by CIFOR (watch it below), “It’s a chance for the journalists to sink their teeth into a really hot topic in climate change.”
During the workshop the journalists visited mangrove restoration projects on the small island of Nusa Lembongan off the tip of Bali. Joined by Matthew Warren from the US State Department Forest Service, he explained, “in the past 50 years, 30-50% of Indonesia’s mangroves have been lost.” They are destroyed mostly for the unsustainable farming of shrimp or tourism.
New research shows that these wetland ecosystems hold far more carbon than previously thought and therefore saving the remaining wetland forests has come to the fore in the forest climate debate.
This opportunity enlightened the journalists to an important environmental issue in Indonesia. “The (carbon) storage and how they calculate it is interesting,” said Feby Mega Indah in the film, a Jakarta based freelance journalist, “and the carbon data is quite surprising.”
In the days and weeks after the workshop over 30 articles were published in national and regional newspapers and online.