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  Antara 8 Dec 06
Indonesia's forest destruction downgrades international confidence

Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - Forestry Minister MS Ka`ban has said Indonesia`s continued forest destruction has downgraded the international confidence in the country.

"As the world`s biggest tropical forest owner, Indonesia has been under the international spotlight because of its forest destruction, leading to a drop in the international confidence in Indonesia," he told around 100 heads of forestry services attending a workshop on managing sustainable forests here on Thursday night.

Indonesia`s damaged forests currently covered an area of 59.3 million hectares, he said. He noted that illegal logging, forest fires and nomadic farming were responsible for the forest destruction.

"The practices have led to degradation of forest function, shrinkage in forested land, and disappearance of some flora and fauna species," he said.

The degradation of forest function had destroyed the ecology, he added.

The fact that forestry officers had not implemented forestry policies well was another cause of the forest destruction, he said.

"The paradigm of forest management in regions does not work. Many forestry officials still take advantage of their tenure," he said.

Forestry regulations would become strong if human resources had strong commitment to managing forests well, he said.

Therefore, he added, heads of forestry services must make proper decisions in accordance with the constitution to conserve the forests. He also asked the heads of forestry services to adopt common perceptions in managing the forests based on the constitution.

Although in the era of regional autonomy regional heads had the autonomous right to make decisions, the heads of forestry services as the top forestry officials in the regions remained bound to the Forestry Ministry in accordance with Law No.41/1969 on Forestry, he said.

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