Reducing forestry emissions in Indonesia

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Courtesy of the Secretariat of the President of Indonesia

BOGOR, Indonesia (31 May, 2011)_When negotiators from Jakarta and Oslo started working out the terms of a ‘Letter of Intent’ in which Norway would provide up to US$1 billion to help Indonesia save its forests, both sides came to CIFOR for the latest research, analysis and advice.

Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, mostly from deforestation, forest degradation and the conversion of peatlands. Norway is the world’s largest contributor to efforts to save the world’s forests.

After the agreement was announced in May 2010, CIFOR scientists were repeatedly consulted by a range of stakeholders in Indonesia and Norway, and have been invited to contribute to several task forces formed to move forward on the Letter of Intent provisions.

Early in the process, CIFOR contributed an analysis of the degree to which Indonesia’s stated target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent could be reached by planting trees. A central finding of the study, ‘Reducing forestry emissions in Indonesia’, was that attempts to achieve significant reductions through tree planting alone would not be feasible, as the number of trees needed to fully achieve emission reduction targets would require a land area twice the size of the country.

Instead, emission reduction efforts needed to focus on keeping existing forests as forests. It further concluded that new plantations should be established on degraded lands to reduce emissions associated with land use changes. The results were introduced at a planning meeting involving representatives from key sectors of the Government of Indonesia less than two weeks after the signing of the Letter of Intent.

It is too early to determine whether the bilateral agreement will be a success, as the process is still playing out, but it has already prompted much-needed public debate about the implications of alternative options for managing Indonesia’s remaining forests. CIFOR is doing everything it can to help—and both parties to the agreement have expressed their appreciation of our involvement as a neutral broker of essential data, policy advice and other information.

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For more information:

Reducing forestry emissions in Indonesia by Verchot, L.V.; Petkova, E.; Obidzinski, K.; Atmadja, S.; Yuliani, L.; Dermawan, A.; Murdiyarso, D.; Amira, S

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