“We have already felt for ourselves the consequences of environmental damage, such as landslides, floods, forest fires and so on. We must encourage a form of development that is environmentally friendly.” (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president, Republic of Indonesia)
Indonesia is blessed with bountiful natural resources and vast expanses of natural forests. Te forests are home to unique species including the world’s largest arboreal mammal - the Sumatran orangutan. Forests in Indonesia provide ecosystem services that are crucial to the local and global community and our country recognises the importance of biodiversity and the associated ecosys- tem services to the extent that an expansive network of protected areas and national conservation programmes have been established to secure these for future generations. At the same time, Indo- nesia has been trying to develop economically and often this has come at the expense of forests. Unfortunately, forest loss also means these same ecosystem services are being compromised. At a local level, landslides, floods, and changes in water regulation are the result, while at the global scale carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation must stimulate global efforts for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
In December 2009, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Indonesia amerged as a green leader by committing to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020, and up to 41% with external aid. With a huge amount of carbon stored in Indonesia’s forests and especially forests within the country’s extensive peatlands, improved forest management is vital to avoiding carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Indonesia therefore welcomes current initiatives that attempt to contribute to a green economy where strong economic development is inextricably linked to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.
Indonesia has already taken bold steps to develop a sustainable economy based on improved for- est management. Te country has joined the United Nations collaborative programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (UN-REDD) seeking to reduce carbon emis- sions from deforestation and forest degradation. In May 2010, Indonesia signed a US$ 1 Billion deal with Norway to improve sustainable forest management, including biodiversity conservation.
Tus we welcome this publication linking the plight of one of Indonesia’s most cherished species, the orangutan, with the ecosystem services provided by the forests where they live. We value the findings of the scientific and economic research that demontsrates that carbon could stimulate the development of a green economy in Indonesia where conservation of natural forests works in synergy with sustainable development.
While Indonesia and the international community still have yet considerable strides to make to realize a green economic future, we at present are firmly committed.
Ir. Novianto Bambang W, MSI Director of Biodiversity Conservation Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation Ministry of Forestry