Jakarta – Greenpeace Indonesia says that forest loss over the last five years was as much as 2.13 million hectares or the equivalent of 3.5 times the size of the island of Bali.
Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaign team head Arie Rompas said this figure was taken from government data. "Is it then appropriate to say that [deforestation] has declined significantly", he asked in a press release on November 10.
If broken down, 629.2 thousand hectares of forest was lost over the period 2015-2016, 480 thousand hectares over the period 2016-2017 and 439.4 thousand hectares over the period 2017-2018.
Then 462.5 thousand hectares in the period 2018-2019 and 115.5 thousand hectares in the period 2019-2020.
In total, Rompas said that the area of forest lost during the leadership of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was as much as 2.13 million hectares or the equivalent of 3.5 times the size of the island of Bali.
The total forest lost over the last five years also represented half of the deforestation which occurred during the previous 12 years (2003-2014), namely 4.19 million hectares.
"It only needed five years for the figure for forest loss in Indonesia during the era of President Jokowi to reach half the figure for deforestation during the 12 years before [he was elected]", said Rompas.
Rompas then cited a statement by President Widodo at the GOP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in which the decline in the rate of deforestation was claimed as an achievement, saying that this concealed the real facts of what is happening on the ground.
Never mind the other impacts deforestation has such as the loss of biodiversity, natural disasters, carbon emissions and public health.
Rompas believes that it is very naive for the government to see this as an achievement.
Instead of trying to present a good image on the global stage, Rompas is asking the government to really prove its commitment to the moratorium on clearing forest land and preventing damage to the climate which is worsening.
"No matter how well the government's communication is polished up, it cannot conceal the reality and problems on the ground", he said.
Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar claims that the government is committed to protecting the environment, such as in the form of concrete work such as pushing down the rate of deforestation and reducing emissions over the last six to seven years.
"In 2020, the rate of deforestation declined drastically to only 115.2 thousand hectares. The deforestation rate this year is the lowest rate of deforestation in the last 20 years", explained Bakar.
Bakar also claimed that the government has optimised unproductive land, law enforcement, restoration and rehabilitation of forests to enrich plantations and increased carbon absorption.
She also said that the government has limited plantation forests to around 14 million hectares by using methods to reduce the impact of logging and social forestry management for small farmers. (tfq/bmw)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Greenpeace Sebut Luas Deforestasi Era Jokowi Tiga Kali Pulau Bali".]