Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Endangered Sumatran tigers kill Indonesian farmers

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Jakarta | Sat, 01/31/2009 3:45 PM

Rare Sumatran tigers increasingly under threat as their jungle habitat shrinks have been blamed for deadly attacks on three Indonesian farmers, including the mauling of a father and son while they slept, officials said Friday.

The bodies were discovered over the past week within a 25-mile (40-kilometer) range on Jambi province, Sumatra, police chief Tedjo Dwikora said.

A 58-year-old father and his 21-year-old son were attacked in their sleep Wednesday in a hut near their village, while another man's body was found a week earlier in a nearby village, he said.

Two old tigers known to roam the area are believed to have carried out the killings, said local conservationist Didy Wurdjanto.

Fewer than 700 Sumatran tigers remain worldwide, according to estimates. The endangered animals are being forced to venture beyond traditional hunting grounds as rampant illegal logging, land clearing and commercial development eats into their jungle habitat. They are also threatened by poaching for the lucrative animal trade.

Only 20 such tigers still live in Sumatra's Jambi province on impoverished Indonesia's westernmost island, once a wildlife heartland.

Landslide victim


The Jakarta Post,
The Associated Press | Sat, 01/31/2009 3:56 PM 
 

 Indonesian rescuers and army soldiers carry the body of a victim of a landslide at a village in Karangangyar, Central Java, Indonesia, Saturday. A government rescue official said at least six people have been killed in the landslide. AP/ALI LUTFI


Kalla to receive honorary doctorate for peace efforts

The Jakarta Post | Sat, 01/31/2009 5:03 PM

Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla on Saturday began his three days visit in Japan where he would receive an honorary doctorate from Soka University for his contribution to world peace.

The university says that Kalla had given notable contribution to conflict resolution in Indonesia, particularly brokering the peace deal between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government.

It also says that his unique approach in resolving conflict deserves him the honorary doctorate.

Other recipients of honorary doctorate on peace from Soka University include Nelson Mandela, Husni Mubarak, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Fidel Valdes ramos and K.R. Narayan.

Kalla is expected to arrive at Narita Airport at 5 p.m. local time or 3 p.m. Indonesian time.

Before attending the doctorate awarding on Monday, the vice president is scheduled to visit the Zoorasia zoo in Yokohoma on Sunday. The zoo, which has a wide variety of Asian animals, displays Indonesian animals such as Sumatran tiger and orangutan.

He is also expected to visit an underground agriculture laboratory in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. (and)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Disaster response still fragile in RI: Humanitarian report

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 01/30/2009 8:41 AM

Disaster reponse by the government and humanitarian workers is still below the United Nations’ minimum standard, a report said.

The 2008 Indonesia Humanitarian Forum report said the poor responses happened amid a sharp decrease in the number of fatalities from disasters during 2008.

“We found that disaster response management in Indonesia does not yet fully comply with the minimum standards set by the UN, which is called the Sphere,” Hening Parland, the Indonesia Humanitarian Forum executive director, said Thursday.

The forum conducted a study — based on media analysis from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008 — and found that the government and humanitarian institutions only applied some of the Sphere standards.

The Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response was first launched in 1997 by humanitarian NGOs, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent movement.

Sphere is based on two core beliefs: first, all possible steps should be taken to alleviate human suffering arising from a disaster; second, those affected by a disaster have a right to live with dignity and a right to assistance.

“The lowest scores [for the Indonesian government and aid workers] were on evaluation, competency and humanitarian workers’ responsibility. Many of the workers are not even covered under an insurance scheme,” Hening said.

“Many humanitarian workers are not aware of their vulnerability to the disasters while working in the field.”

Hening said the activists’ poor competency on disaster management would also hamper the sustainability of humanitarian programs.

The study showed that many of the disaster responses were still regarded simply as a “relief initiative” rather than as a comprehensive implementation of rights, as stipulated in Act 2007 on disaster management which mandated security and protection as basic human rights.

Indonesia is prone to natural disasters — ranging from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunami — due to its location on the “Ring of Fire” volcanic belt.

Poor environmental management in most of the country’s 33 provinces, coupled with the impact of climate change, has made Indonesia more prone to floods and landslides.


Data from the Indonesian Humanitarian Forum showed there were 236 cases of disasters last year, with floods at 130 cases, followed by tropical storms (43 cases) and landslides (35 cases).

The Health Ministry said that a total of 7,618 people were killed during 2006 in 162 natural disasters nationwide. It also said that the number of disasters increased to 205 recorded events in 2007, killing 766 people.

The number of disasters increased last year with 408 cases. However, the number of fatalities decreased to 321 people.

“The decline in the death rate is due to the presence and the application of early warning systems, including those for floods and landslides. However, coordination among government offices and agencies to deal with the disasters remains poor,” Hening said.

The forum also criticized the effectiveness of regulations issued by the government and regional administrations regarding natural disaster mitigation.

“We have found there are 57 regulations related to disaster mitigation management. The effectiveness of these rules remains unclear,” Hening said.

The Humanitarian Forum, which consists of eight NGOs, including Muhammadiyah Disaster Management and Wahana Visi Indonesia, also plans to educate 1,000 humanitarian workers this year to help carry out missions in the field.

The Sphere’s eight standards:

  1. Public participation
  2. Preliminary study
  3. Response
  4. Determining targets
  5. Monitoring
  6. Evaluation
  7. Competency
  8. Humanitarian workers’ responsibility, supervision management and support to staff.

Indonesia says plans to subsidise biofuel in 2009

Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:42am GMT

JAKARTA, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Indonesia's government is planning to pay a subsidy to biofuel producers starting this year to encourage them to remain in the business and promote widespread use of the alternative energy source, an energy ministry official said on Friday.

The government wants to make the use of biofuel mandatory from this year to ensure the survival of the fledgling industry, an aim made more urgent since biofuel became more expensive than crude oil-based fuel after oil prices dived more than 70 percent from their peak in July last year.

"We will only pay the subsidy if biofuel prices are higher than crude oil-based fuels," Evita Legowo, director general of oil and gas at the energy ministry told Reuters.

Under the plan, if prices of biofuel products are higher than crude oil-based fuels, the government will pay subsidy of 1,000 rupiah ($0.08) per litre on average.

"At the moment, palm-based biodiesel is more expensive than crude oil-based diesel, but prices of bioethanol are not," Legowo said.

Bioethanol is made using both cassava and cane molasses.

Palm biofuel and bioethanol compete with cheap domestic petrol diesel in Indonesia, one of the lowest priced in Asia because of generous government subsidies.

Palm-based biodiesel prices were around 5,800 rupiah per litre on Friday, or about 1,500 rupiah higher than diesel, said Paulus Tjakrawan, secretary general of Indoesian Biofuel Producers Association.

State run PT Pertamina, which sells subsidised fuel products, is estimated to blend 194,444 kilo litres of bioethanol and 580,025 kiloliters of palm-based biodiesel in 2009, a government document showed.

Based on such an estimate, the government may have to allocate 774.5 billion rupiah in biofuel subsidies this year.

A ministerial decree issued last November stated that for biodiesel used in transportation, there must use a blend of 1 percent palm-based biodiesel and 99 percent diesel oil, while industry and power plants should use a blend containing 2.5 percent and 0.25 percent palm-based biodiesel respectively.

By 2010, the palm-biodiesel content will be increased to between 2.5-3 percent for transportation, 5 percent for industry, and 1 percent for power plants.

For bioethanol, the use of a 1-5 percent blend of bioethanol and 99-95 percent of gasoline for transportation become mandatory this year.

"Currently, the biodiesel blend for transportation has reached 5 percent," Legowo said.

Indonesia, the world's top producer of palm oil, used in a wide range of products from soap to biodiesel, is estimated to turn out 20.25 million tonnes of palm oil in 2009, up from 18.8 million in 2008, the industry association has estimated.

The increased use of palm oil for biodiesel is important to help ease the country's palm oil stocks, a key factor supporting palm prices despite the gloomy global demand outlook. (Reporting by Aloysius Bhui; Editing by Ben Tan)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Banyumas Farmers Increase by 10.0000

Thursday, 29 January, 2009 | 16:28 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Purwokerto:The number of farmers in Banyumas regency has increased. "Our recent data indicated there are around 10.000 additional farmers in Banyumas," said Aziz Kusumandhani, Banyumas Economy chief, yesterday.

According to Aziz, the data was obtained during the distribution of fertilizer control card. Aziz said his department had distributed 90 percent of the total 140.000 control cards. All of the cards are scheduled to be distributed to farmers by the end of this month.

The additional number of farmers is beyond prediction, said Aziz. He attributed this phenomenon to the increased number inland ownership, even though the acreage remained the same. Therefore, the quota of fertilizers to farmers remains the same. There is 32.000 hectares of agricultural land in Banyumas, all of which are benefiting from 25.098 tons of subsidized fertilizer.

Aziz is optimistic that this year's fertilizer distribution will go smoothly, given the intensified supervision. He said only 250 kilograms of fertilizer is allocated for each hectare of agricultural land during each planting season. Meanwhile, farmers who own more than two hectares of land will not receive subsidized fertilizer.

ARIS ANDRIANTO

CPO producers see `good' prices

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 01/29/2009 1:54 PM

Producers of crude palm oil (CPO) expect prices to reach as high as US$600 per ton this year, betting on higher domestic sales which would help avoid oversupply in global markets, thus stabilizing the prices.

The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) said Tuesday the current prices of around $550 per ton was already far better than in the slump in late last year, which saw CPO prices go as low as $400.

"Our target is to maintain the CPO average price between US$500 and US$600 per ton this year. Last week, the price averaged US$550 per ton," GAPKI executive chairman Derom Bangun, who is also a member of the Palm Oil Research Center (PPKS) Advisory Board, said.

"Market conditions might not be as good as they were during the boom in the first half of 2008, but they are better than the conditions when the price slumped dramatically in the second semester of last year," he added.

Bangun said producers planned to increase domestic sales, in line with a predicted rise in production for 2009.

"Our production target for 2009 is 20 million tons, of which around 4 to 5.5 million tons are targeted for domestic sales. However, if the government can promote the use of biodiesel more vigorously, domestic sales can be increased up to between 5 and 6.5 million tons," Bangun said.

"With more domestic consumption, we can reduce the pressure on the international market which in turn will help to stabilize the commodity's average price."

Last year, Indonesia produced some 18.5 millions tons of CPO, around 14.5 million of which were exported.

Indonesia exports CPO to over 100 countries, including 15 countries in western Europe such as the Netherlands and Germany.

CPO producers are now exploring to improve sales penetration in eastern European countries.

"Slovakia, for example, does not have an oil refinery plant, and we can cooperate with them to supply crude palm oil to their neigboring countries," Bangun said.

However, sales in western Europe might face a new obstacle as the EU will require CPO to be "certified and sustainable" as of 2010.

To have the certification, CPO should pass an environment-friendly test to prove whether or not it can reduce the greenhouse gas effect, also known as greenhouse effect, by as much as 35 percent. So far, only one out of about 300 listed producers in Indonesia has passed the test.

Further details and development on the industry will be discussed in the International Conference and Exhibition on Palm Oil on May 27.-29 in Jakarta.

The event will feature international speakers and host over 1,000 participants and provide 150 booths for multinational companies. Delegates from Britain, Malaysia, China, India, Nigeria, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Germany have confirmed their participation.(hdt)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Govt launches subsidized ‘Minyak Kita’ cooking oil

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 01/28/2009 12:15 PM

The government launched Minyak Kita, its own brand of subsidized packaged cooking oil, on Wednesday to stabilize the price of the essential commodity.

Trade Minister Mari E. Pangestu officially launched the program at Duren Sawit, East Jakarta and said that the cheap cooking oil would be sold for Rp 6,000 a liter (about 55 US cents), as compared to the existing market price of between Rp 8,000 and Rp 9,000.

"This packed oil is expected to stabilize cooking oil prices on the domestic market, improve hygiene and boost the domestic packaging industry to serve the public at large, not only those shopping in the modern retail stores,” Mari said, according to state news service Antara.

Minyak Kita is produced by the country’s 24 cooking oil manufacturers as part of their corporate social responsibility programs.

The government has allocated Rp 800 billion to subsidize Minyak Kita through the abolition of the added value tax.

Mari said that Minyak Kita was targeted specifically at the 18.2 million poor families in the country.

Rice husk waste turned into cheap energy for cooking

Vincent Lingga, The Jakarta Post, Manila | Wed, 01/28/2009 3:23 PM

Millions of farmers in Indonesia could benefit from a simple gas stove which uses small scale rice husk gassification technology, turning rice husk waste into efficient fuel. This is an abundant farm waste in the country which produces about 58 million tons of rice a year.

The burner of the humble, metal cooking stove which generates a clear, blue flame was invented and developed initially in the Philippines and later in Indonesia by Alexis Belonio, a Philippina agricultural engineer, who has worked as a production director of PT Minang Jordanindo Approtech, since 1997.

"By using this stove a rice farmer can save up to about US$150 a year, compared to stoves using kerosene or liquefied petroleum gas. This saving is quite significant for hundreds of millions of people who still live on less than $2/day," Belonio said after receiving an award from Swiss Rolex SA at a special ceremony in Manila last Wednesday.

The multiple benefits of Belonio's invention are that rice husks are usually free, either on the farm or from the waste dumps near rice mills and the use of husk-fired stoves could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut down the use of firewood.

"Indonesia produced more than 10 million tons of rice husks a year and most of them were wasted. This is the huge potential resource I had in mind when I decided to sponsor Belonio's research and experiments as part of my company's search for clean, renewable energy," Minang Jordanindo Chairman Bonny Minang told The Jakarta Post.

Belonio was one of the ten recipients of the 2008 Rolex Awards for Enterprise which has honored innovators in various areas since 1976. Five of them were recognized as Rolex Laureates, who each received $100,000, with five other Associate Laureates each receiving a $50,000 prize, including Belonio.

The winners were selected from 1,500 applicants from more than 125 countries by an independent jury of internationally-known scientists, economists and other experts from various countries around the world.

The Rolex Awards fund new and ongoing projects which demonstrate a spirit of enterprise and address pressing needs around the world and winners are innovators who mostly work outside the mainstream and have limited access to traditional funding.

Emil Salim, an economist and former cabinet member having held different ministerial portfolios, was one of the 11 members of the jury for the 2008 Rolex Awards.

Belonio, a 48-year old associate professor of agricultural engineering at the College of Agriculture at the Central Philippine University in Iloilo City, acknowledged that cookers fired by rice husks had been used before, but they had been sooty and unhealthy and did not generate enough heat to cook quickly.

"But the gasification process I invented and the design I made for the gas stove is able to cook food or water very quickly as a ton of rice husks can generate energy to the equivalent of 415 liters of gasoline or 378 liters of kerosene, " he added.

His demonstrations in the Minang Jordanindo workshop showed that a few handful of husks can boil water in seven to nine minutes. Yet more beneficial is that cooking by the stove eliminates toxic fumes inside houses."Even the char left after burning rice husks can be recycled to improve soil nutrition or made into cardboard," Bonny said.

The early gas stove model he developed in the Philippines since 2003 was quite expensive, costing about $100, which is certainly not affordable to most rice farmers.

"But my research and experiments with sponsorhip from Minang Jordanindo helped develop a new design which cut down the cost of the gas stove to $25 per unit," Belonio said.

"But I want to further cut the cost down to only $10," Bonny said with a high sense of optimism.

Bonny added that Belonio had expanded his research and experiments to create a broad range of new technologies such as dual-reactor and continuous-flow gasifiers for grain dryers, bakery ovens, commercial kitchen stoves and micro-generating plant.

In Belonio's design, a stream of oxygen converts the burning rice husk fuel to a combustible blend of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane gase, yielding a hot, blue flame similar to that produced by burning natural gas.

Bonny said Belonio is also experimenting with a super-gasifier, a powerful rice-husk stove driven by injecting superheated steam, which can use other biomass feed-stock such as coconut husks, corn cobs and sugarcane bagasse.

Rice husk-fired cookers have been mass produced in the Philippines using Belonio's technology process.

However, Bonny is still hesitant to immediately commercialize Belonio's invention through mass production of the cheaper design and model developed under his company's sponsorship.

"There is not yet an organized market for rice husks in Indonesia. Mass producing this stove now could suddenly cause the price of rice husks, now mostly wasted, to skyrocket. Such conditions could cause a backlash on the introduction of this simple gas stove," he said.

Certainly, Bonny added, he wants his investment paid back, but " I am still selling this idea (rice husk-fired stoves) to the government with the objective of developing a reliable and stable source of rice husks, for example, through the opening of rice production estates as the agent of development."

Cheap imported milk spoils production in Central Java

Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Semarang | Wed, 01/28/2009 5:17 PM

Farmers in Semarang, Salatiga and Boyolali regencies in Central Java have been forced to dump thousands of liters of fresh milk they are unable to sell to industries which prefer cheaper, imported milk.

A farming cooperative in Getasan, Semarang, reported that it had thrown away 22,000 liters of milk, worth Rp 66 million (around US$6,000) since local dairy factories began purchasing less local milk.

“We had to throw the milk in to the river because the industry refuses to buy it and we don't have enough storage room, while fresh milk keeps coming everyday,” Widodo, chairman of the coop, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Farmers in Central Java sell their milk to five main producers of dairy products, namely Bendera, Indomilk, Ultra, SGM, and Nestle.

“Those factories have only profit on their minds. When imported milk was expensive they bought our milk, even though it was not as good. But now, after we managed to improve the quality, they choose the cheaper import,” Agus Warsito, Chairman of the Central Java chapter of the Indonesian Dairy Cow Farmer Association, said.

Agus said the government has to protect local farmers by raising import taxes on milk. (dre)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Indonesia, Malaysia need harmonized anti-timber smuggling procedures

by Eliswan Azly

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - With many findings on illegal logging cases and smuggled timber trading on border areas shared by Indonesia and Malaysia, the two countries which share their cultural roots and beliefs need to harmonize their anti-timber smuggling procedures.

Due to the lack of harmonized procedures, Malaysia`s commitment to combat illegal logging and timber trading across its borders with Indonesia is often not followed.

Illegal logging and timber trading were often found using many heavy equipment belonging to Malaysian bosses that had been confiscated in Indonesian forest areas close to border.

Timber smuggled into Malaysia from Indonesian forests was often legalized by Malaysian authorities, Forestry Minister MS Kaban said in a dialogue forum here on Wednesday.

Perhaps the timber illegally brought into Malaysia was covered by certain documents but Malaysian authorities never checked their authenticity, he said.

It was true that at the 17th meeting of the Indonesia-Malaysia General Border Commission, the two countries agreed to adopt permanent procedures on coordinated air patrols along their common border, the minister said.

However, the procedures only covered the number of personnel, frequency and location of the coordinated air patrols whereas Indonesia was concerned much about the transactions after the smuggled timber entered Malaysia`s territory.

Furthermore, the minister said the air patrols were only aimed at monitoring security conditions along the Malaysia-Indonesian border region which are prone to illegal activities.

More saddening sometimes was that border guards often seemed to ignore what was happening right under their noses. "This is a ring of collaboration between smugglers and certain elements in the region," the minister said.

MS Kaban said Malaysian companies bought the Indonesian illegal timber to fuel their booming furniture industry. The smuggled timber was also often exported to China, Vietnam and other Asian countries through Malaysia.

The World Research Institute data show Indonesia had lost 72 percent of its forests, and according to some estimates, illegal logging has cost the Indonesian government more than $US3.2 billion a year.

Kaban called on the Malaysian government to hand down harsh sentences to businessmen for buying timber illegally from Indonesia.

"Documents obtained by Indonesian police provided enough evidence on illegal timber shipments from Indonesia to a company in the Malaysian state of Sarawak," he said.

Kaban explained forestry criminal offences in Indonesia, notably in Kalimantan and Sumatra, as well as organized crime like a mafia network, involving people at the highest local level.

The forestry minister also called for closer cooperation between the Customs Office, Police and the Forestry Ministry to stamp out timber smuggling from Indonesia.

Last March, the Indonesian National Police intercepted 19 boats carrying 12,000 cubic metres of timber on Pawan River, in Ketapang, East Kalimantan, suspected of being smuggled into Malaysia.

"There needs to be sanctions against countries taking illegal timber from Indonesia. As long as the market is there, timber theft will always exist," he said, adding that more than 10 million cubic metres of timber had been smuggled into Malaysia each year according to data of 2006," he said.

The latest arrests have been hailed as a bold move, about which the environmental group WALHI Indonesia saying that up until now, the destruction of large parts of forests in Indonesia is the result of the lack of law enforcement.

WALHI said the forestry ministry talked more about sanctions than action, Rully Syumanda, a forestry campaigner with the group, said consequently illegal logging became out of control.

"The problem was also caused by the weakness of Indonesian government itself to prevent anything being dispatched to Malaysia by land or by sea," he said.

Furthermore, Syumanda said the flow of illegal timber from Kalimantan or Sumatra to other parts of Indonesia had declined in the past few years following a government crackdown on the areas.

But he said that was only temporary, and corruption allowed loggers to move more timber into the neighboring country.

"In some particular areas, the police or the minister dealing with this muzzling practice, for example in Saba or West Kalimantan, illegal loggers often bribed the military to enable them to move into Malaysia," Syumanda said.

MS Kaban said the government has adopted a tough stance against the smugglers in Indonesia, but the Malaysian government needed to do more in stopping the flow of illegal timber into its territory.

"The Malaysian market is so close to the Indonesian border, and usually the boats say they were trading timber locally when leaving, but then in the middle of the sea they changed course towards Malaysia...and then they took care of security personnel by Malaysian companies, and given some sort of protection," he said.

"In such operations, all involved will be investigated, including the port master who had permitted the boats to sail."

Earlier, a West Kalimantan newspaper quoted Malaysia`s director of Sarawak forestry Datok Lan Talif Saleh as saying because the violation was committed in Indonesia, his country had no legal right to interfere, and would leave the handling of illegal loggers to Indonesia.

Datok Lan said Malaysia was committed to stamping out illegal logging, when it happened in Malaysia.

But Mr Kaban was calling for increased international support in the fight against illegal logging, urging Malaysia and others not to accept illegal timber or products they know came from Indonesia.

"Malaysia should be introspective, not just protect itself with the formal legalities of its institutions, stamping documents entering the country," he said.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baby orangutan born

The Jakarta Post | Sun, 01/25/2009 3:10 PM

Obamy the orangutan was born at the Ragunan Zoo, South Jakarta, late Tuesday.

Courtesy of Ragunan Zoo

The “mother of the orangutan”, Ulrike Freifrau von Mengden, assisted the birth of the baby orangutan girl at almost at the same moment as the inauguration of US President Barack Obama.

The baby was named after the president, but days later, von Mengden discovered the baby was a girl, hence a new name was called for: Obamy.

Ibu Ulla and a volunteer, Barbara Ossenkopp, wrote in a statement on Saturday, “The name Obamy was chosen in the hope for a change for the life of the almost extinct Kalimantan orangutan.”

“No more monkey business in 2009. Yes, we can,” they went on in the statement.

Obamy is the second offspring of 12-year-old Kalimantan orangutan Betina.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

President calls for review of unproductive mining concessions

Kendari, S E Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the concessions of mining companies that had ceased to be of any benefit to the regions where they operated should be reviewed.

"There is no point in maintaining companies which own mining concessions but are no more of any benefit to the regions," the president was quoted as saying by South East Sulawesi Governor Nur Alam here on Friday.

The governor said the president made the remark at a meeting with him during Yudhoyono`s stopover at Kendari`s Wolter Mongosidi aiport here en route from Papua to Bali.

The governor said the president would in the near future order Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro to review the concession rights of a number of mining companies which were no longer active in the field but acted as if they still owned the land.

Nur Alam said that he was told by the president that the head of state visited Papua to observe the emergency response activities and the rehabilitation of the infrastructure and facilities destroyed by a recent earthquake.

The president during his visit to Papua handed over financial aid under the Self-reliant Community Empowerment Program (PNPM)in Mansinam Island, Manokwari, West Papua.

Related Article:

Indonesia sees mine investment below $1 billion in 09


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Organic farmers, consumers discuss tactics

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 01/21/2009 1:36 PM

Several farmers in Cijulang village, in the valley of Mount Salak in Bogor, West Java, have started a new, environmentally friendly routine recently.

Harvest time: Organic food enthusiasts enjoy a free vegetable picking tour at an organic farm in the Cijulang village of Bogor, West Java. (JP/Faisal Maliki Baskoro)

They wake up early every morning to tend to their farms, inspecting their crops one by one.

For fertilizer they use goat’s manure from nearby goat barns, for pesticides they pour ash and spray liquid coconut husks. “It’s hard being an organic farmer, especially when you are not allowed to use any artificial chemicals,” Kang Marin said.

“I did not know anything about organic farming before the guys from Elsppat [an NGO concerned with organic farming] introduced me to organic farming back in 2000,” Marin said.

Marin’s fellow farmer, Ki Tarma, concurred. His first trial with organic techniques was a self admitted big flop.

“Pests destroyed my plants and I could not save them immediately with artificial pesticide. As a result, I harvested nothing,” Tarma sighed.

He explained that it took some time to switch from conventional farming techniques, using artificial fertilizers and pesticides, to organic farming, relying on natural substances.

“Organic farmers must be more industrious than conventional ones, the success of their crops depends on their hard work every day,” Kang Yayan, Tarma’s friend, said.

Wawan, an activist with ELSPpat, said that nature is what organic farming is all about.

“Organic farmers must take into account the condition of the earth, the supply of water, the weather, possible pest attacks and many other things to ensure their crops succeed,” he said.

“So dependent is organic farming on nature that we can not dictate the supply of crops in accordance with the demand. Sometimes, the supply exceeds the demand, sometimes it is below the demand. That’s common in the organic farming business,” he added.

Such an unpredictable business is no win-win situation for farmers and customers.

“That’s why we introduced a contract system between farmers and customers. Organic farmers can grow vegetables or fruits according to suitable weather conditions, while customers are ready to buy the yields,” coordinator of the NGO’s rural economic development division, Gandi, said.

“Of course, the contract will limit customers’ freedom to choose what vegetables or fruits they want,” Gandi admitted.

However, he said that he believed that customers would understand the issue if they understand the nature of organic farming.

As part of efforts to boost mutual understanding between farmers and customers, the NGO organized a gathering recently where customers had the rare chance to talk to farmers and see how they work.

“I realized that it is nature that limits our choice, not the farmers,” Bibong Widyarti, a consumer of organic food since 1995, said during the gathering.

She said that the reasons behind choosing organic food included environmental preservation and empowering local farmers who treat nature with respect.

“Such a system sustains the life of both farmers and nature,” she added.

“You can help local farmers by buying their crops directly from their farms or traditional markets, instead of buying the crops from modern supermarkets,” she said.

Rila, another participant at the event, said that most organic food is more expensive than its conventional counterpart.

“Rice is usually priced at Rp 6,000 a kilogram. The price of organic rice can be twice as high, even four times as high at supermarkets.”

She called on the government to help promote the consumption of organic food so that more conventional farmers would switch to organic farming and therefore the price of organic food would become more competitive.

“The added value of having organic food is not just preserving the environment and health, but also catering to the livelihood of the local farmers and bringing all the noble values to our tables,” she added. (fmb)

How to recognize organic vegetables:

  1. Punctured leaves and long roots originally indicated a vegetable was organic, but now, top quality organic vegetables can have fine leafs and short roots as well.
  2. Know when certain vegetables or fruits are in season. If you find an organic vegetable out of season, it may be an imported organic vegetable or not organic at all.
  3. Some organic vegetables already have a certified organic label.
  4. Organic vegetables have a crunchier and sweeter taste than conventional vegetables
  5. Organic vegetables have a brighter color and stronger scent.

Source: Bibong Widyarti

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

EU Palm Oil Demand Hit

The Jakarta Globe, Fidelis E. Satriastanti, January 20, 2009

The European Union’s increasing demand for crude palm oil, or CPO, is evidence of its inconsistent stance on climate change, an environmentalist said on Monday.

“[The developed world] has criticized Indonesia for destroying its forests, but its increasing demand for Indonesian CPO sends a different message,” said Elfian Effendi, the executive director of Greenomics Indonesia.

According to Greenomics, CPO exports to 10 European Union countries rose 166 percent from $320 million in the first eight months of 2007 to $851 million in the same period in 2008.

“It is ironic that CPO demand increased while talks on climate change intensified,” Elfian said. “Our government continues to take a relaxed stance on palm oil producers despite the damage that they cause to our forests.”

Achmad Mangga Barani, the director general for plantations at the Ministry of Agriculture, refuted Elfian’s claim, saying the government was committed to “achieving sustainability in the industry through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.”

The roundtable was formed in 2004 as an international coalition of palm oil producers, buyers and nongovernmental organizations aimed at raising environmental awareness within the palm oil industry.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kintamani farmers keep their coffee pure

Anton Muhajir, The Jakarta Post, Kintamani | Mon, 01/19/2009 6:03 PM

For some people, Kintamani coffee is an enjoyable delicacy worth traveling to Bali for. But for Kintamani farmers, it is a serious business.

Coffee farmers in Kintamani go to great lengths to ensure their brand of Arabica coffee reaches an international standard, including penalizing farmers who use chemicals or who fail to abide by the strict regulations for Kintamani coffee bean farming.

It began in 2005, when farmers collectively decided to ban the use of any inorganic materials on Kintamani coffee plants to maintain the beans' quality.

"If we use chemicals, the coffee beans we harvest deteriorate quickly, sometimes as early as the day after we harvest them," said I Wayan Jamin, a local village chief in the Kintamani area.

"We want everything in Kintamani to be organic. This ensures that the coffee beans last up to three days."

Kintamani coffee is one of Bali's specialties. The beans are planted on the highland plateau of Kintamani - between the volcanoes of Batukaru and Mount Agung - where farmers use the world-famous traditional collective farming system called Subak Abian.

Kintamani coffee beans are harvested once every year, between June and October. The rest of the year, farmers tend their plants.

At no time may farmers break the code, which has been expanded to include strict guidelines for proper bean planting and harvesting.

Jamin said in the past farmers were allowed to harvest the beans while still green, but now only the red ones may be harvested.

"Because that affects the quality of the coffee too," he said.

Using chemicals or failing to keep to the code, he said, would result in several penalties, depending on the number of violations and the severity of the breach.

A small mistake such as picking a green coffee bean incurs a fine of Rp 1,000 multiplied by the number of farmers in their Subak Abian, which may include more than 150 villagers.

"A serious violation may cost the violator their job, or even traditional village exclusion, which means they may not pray together with the rest of villagers for the rest of their life," Jamin said.

The farmers in the area do not seem to mind the strict rules.

One farmer, Nengah Kempel, said all the 150 farmers in Kintamani used organic fertilizers.

"It's a collective decision," Nengah said, adding the rules had helped the farmers' relationship with PT Indokom, a coffee exporter based in Lampung and Surabaya, which had been helping the farmers improve their coffee beans since five years ago.

Nengah said the company had been helping farmers to have more stable lives, saying that before the arrival of PT Indokom, farmers had been forced to wage bargaining wars with commodity brokers.

"Now the prices are more stable," he said.

Kempel said his coffee sells for Rp 5,500 per kilogram, or about Rp 25 million per harvest for his 50-acre farm. On the market, Kintamani coffee fetches about Rp 5,000 a kilogram.


Rats attack 300 hectares of rice fields in Banyumas

Gus Maryono, THE JAKARTA POST, BANYUMAS | Sat, 01/17/2009 5:25 PM

Farmers in four regencies have been left reeling with failed crops after rats struck 300 hectares of rice paddies in Banyumas, Central Java, over the past two weeks.

On Friday, provincial agriculture agency official Tri Gunawan said rats usually only attacked 2- to 3-month-old rice stalks.

"We don't know the real cause of this.

"Usually the rats attack paddies that do not have the same planting season as others," he said.

The staggered planting seasons mean the rats are constantly supplied with food.

Tri said his office had encouraged farming communities to handle the rats using conventional methods.

ask farmers to ambush the rats together. Although they may not be able to kill them all, at least the effort can help reduce the rat population," he said.

Tri also pointed to the decreasing number of the rats' predators, particularly snakes. has made the rat number keep increasing," he said.

Many villagers hunt snakes for commercial purposes. A single snake can fetch between Rp 20,000 (US$2) and Rp 50,000, depending on the species and size.

The farmers are livid about the rat attacks. is unbelievable. It seems the number of rats never decreases. We kill a lot of them - we put their bodies in sacks. still their numbers remain big. I don't know where they come from," Sumadi, a 34-year-old farmer in Karang Tengah village, Banyumas regency, told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

He also vented his fury over the rats entering villagers' homes.

"The whole village has waged war against the rats. They steal food from our kitchens," he said.

He added he could kill up to seven rats a day with rat traps. they get into the house through our windows," he said.

Another farmer, Tukiran, 50, lamented the failed crops on his 5,000-square-meter rice paddy destroyed by the rats.

"I just checked my paddy. It's a mess. We lost big this time," he said.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Indonesia has potential to become world biofuel producer


Jakarta (
ANTARA News) - Indonesia, along with Brazil, has the potential to become a world bio-fuel producer, an Indonesian Farmers Association (HKTI) leader said.

Indonesia had a vast land territory, a great number of workers, a good domestic and international market that could support its efforts to develop ethanol production and jatropha curcas plantations, Siswono Yudohusodo, chairman of HKTI`s advisory board, said here Saturday.

"What is needed is a government policy which would enable villagers in rural areas to produce alternative energy," he said.

The former transmigration minister said that so far farmers only used jatroph curcas as fence plants for house yards and rice fields.

Siswono said that based on a research, alternative energy that could be produced from Jatropha curcas has quality equal to diesel oil. The research was done by the Bandung-based Institute of Technology (ITB) in cooperation with the Mitsubishi Research Institute.

In 2006, a team has also conducted a test on the use of jatropha curcas oil as fuel for motor vehicles and it found that this alternative energy was able to support a trip of more than 3,000 km from Atambua in East Nusa Tenggara province to Jakarta.

Siswono, who is also former HKTI chairman said that jatropha curcas nuts had 30 to 35 percent oil content so that each three kgs of nuts are able to yield one liter of bio-diesel.

Seen from the economic aspect, he said, the price of bio-diesel which was produced from jatropha cucas nuts was about Rp4,500 per liter, cheaper than the rice of diesel oil and premium gasoline.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More than 600 elephants found in Malaysian park

The Jakarta Post , The Associated Press | Thu, 01/15/2009 5:04 PM

Researchers said Thursday they have found a surprisingly large elephant population in Malaysia's biggest national park after new survey techniques revealed a community of more than 600 animals.

The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and Malaysia Department of Wildlife and National Parks estimated that there are 631 Asian elephants living in Taman Negara National Park in the center of peninsular Malaysia.

The survey showed Taman Negara to be "one of the great strongholds for Asian elephants in Southeast Asia," said Melvin Gumal, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's conservation programs in Malaysia.

"People were unsure of how many elephants lived in the park before our survey, although there were good reasons to think that the population was substantial," he said.

Asian elephants are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching; between 30,000 and 50,000 may remain in 13 Asian countries, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The Taman Negara protected rainforest jungle, known simply as the "Green Heart" by Malaysians, spans about 4,343 square kilometers (1,676 square miles) - roughly the size of Utah's Great Salt Lake.

"The surveys reveal the importance of Taman Negara in protecting wildlife especially those species that need large home ranges," Abdul Rasid Samsudin, the director general of Malaysia's Department of Wildlife and National Parks, said in a statement. He said the size of the population was larger than expected.

Prior to the survey, there was no figure for the park's elephant population because researchers lacked an accurate method to count animals spread throughout the dense jungle forest that are frequently on the move.

That changed with the development of a new survey method. Elephant dung piles were counted in 2006 and 2007 to estimate population size rather than trying to visually count every elephant.

Counting dung piles has become an internationally recognized technique and has been endorsed by U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Gumal said.

"There were lots of problems before with surveying elephants in rain forests," Gumal said. "It is hard to estimate the number of elephants by just looking at them because the rain forest is very lush. The elephants will find you faster than you see them."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Strong Winds Cause Disasters in Some Areas

Tuesday, 13 January, 2009 | 19:57 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Natural disasters caused by strong winds have been happening in some areas in Indonesia for the last few days. In Jakarta, some coastal areas have been inundated by high tide from the Bay of Jakarta.

Water level reached a height of one half to one meter in Penjaringan, North Jakarta. In Ancol, waters reached knee-high, flooding the main entrance of a popular tourist site. Similar floodings can be seen in Utama Beach, West Java.

Continuous rain over Poso regency, Central Sulawesi, from Sunday until yesterday made the Poso River overflow, flooding hundreds of homes in Bonesompe village. So far, there has been no reports of victims.

Still in Poso, tornado also struck many homes in Pandayora, South Pamona. A team led by Poso deputy regent Abdul Muthalib Rimi which monitored the situation on the site donated food supplies and cooking utensils for the victims.

West Sulawesi governor Anwar Adnan Saleh yesterday surveyed conditions on land and from the air following flooding and landslides in Majene and Polewali Mandar last Saturday. According to the governor, his department cannot yet estimate the financial losses caused by the disaster which has claimed 10 people. “We are still calculating the cost,” he said.

Certainly, Anwar said, the flood has damaged most of the infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, agricultural lands and plantations, as well as sources of clean water. In the area of Polewali Mandar, 3.859 homes were reportedly damaged.

In Bali, the Badung regency administration could not as yet list the losses caused by flooding in Kuta and Legian last Sunday. “We are giving priority to the victims first,” said Badung regent, Anak Agung Gde Agung.

TITO | IRMAWATI | DARLIS | NI LUH ARIE

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Paper industries allowed to use wood from natural forests

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Forestry Ministry will allow pulp and paper industries to use wood from natural forests if supply from timber estates (HTI) is not available due to their development problems in the past two years.

"It is not impossible for the policy for pulp and paper industries to use wood from natural forests to be extended," Forestry Minister MS Kaban said here on Friday.

The forestry minister had earlier issued a decree banning pulp and paper industries to use wood from natural forests.

Based on the decree HTI companies linked with pulp and paper industry are required to finish planting their areas in 2009 by the latest.

However, Minister Ka'ban said in the past two years several HTI companies had been suspected of conducting illegal logging and as a result many companies had been afraid of being suspected of doing it making them to delay their planting and industrial forest development activity.

"Plants that have to be harvested after six to seven years were cut earlier and as a result stocks of tree stand in the HTI companies are irregular," he said.

The minister did not mention time limit for the use of wood from natural forests saying "it depends upon their respective annual plan."

In addition to the facility the minister urged the companies to immediately finish planting their areas moreover the illegal logging case has now been dealt with by the police.

He reminded that the obligation to conduct timber estate management had to be done six months after the license was given by the latest.

For those who are late, the government may revoke their license, he said adding that timber estate planting also had to be done with respect to principles of sustainable forest management.

The Forestry Ministry expects until 2009 a total of five million hectares of timber estates could be created. Until the end of 2008 realization of the forest development reached 4.3 millin hectares. At present a total 222 units of timber estate companies have been recorded operating on a 9.807 million hectares of land consisting of 164 companies with a definitive license operating on 7.1 million hectares, 26 units on 2.03 million hectares with a reserve license and the rest 32 units on 300,000 hectares for transmigration programs.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Rare gibbon faces extinction

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 01/09/2009 7:46 AM

ENDANGERED PRIMATE: A staff member at the Java Gibbon Center in Lido, Bogor, West Java, weighs Lukas, an eight-year-old female gibbon Thursday. Lukas was handed over by a resident of Tegal Alur, Jakarta. (JP/Theresia Sufa)


The Indonesian Primatological Association warned Thursday that Indonesian could lose the unique Owa Jawa (Javanese Gibbon) in less than a decade unless serious action is taken to protect the species.

A 2008 survey found only 2,000 Javanese Gibbons (Hylobates moloch) still lived in Java’s forests, mainly in Ujung Kulon National Park, Tangkuban Perahu Mountain, Ciremai Mountain and Papandayan Mountain, almost half as many as the 4,500 reported in 2004.

“The threats to the Javanese Gibbon include habitat degradation and fragmentation, and the trapping oftheir young to be kept as pets,” Made Wedana from the Indonesian Primatological Association told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

The survey was conducted in December 2008 in 63 areas throughout West and Central Java.

The study found only 300 Javanese Gibbons in Ujung Kulon National Park and said the species stands a 50 percent chance of extinction within the next 10 years, or three generations.

The survey blamed dwindling forest areas in Java for the drastic decrease in the gibbon population, and said surveyors found animal traps and Javanese Gibbons being kept illegally for sale.

Only 5 percent of the Javanese Gibbon’s former habitat now remains due to progressive and vast deforestation.

Made said the grey-colored primate, which has a loud and distinctive voice and eats fruit bugs and leaves, requires the safety of a heavy forest canopy for survival.

“The current scarcity of this gibbon demonstrates the critical condition of Java’s forest,” Made said.

“I think we have to be more concerned about our forests, not only to save the Javanese Gibbons but to ensure human survival,” Made said.

“The Javanese Gibbon is not as popular as the Orangutan, but we have to protect them or these creatures will entirely disappear.”

The Javanese Gibbon is one of 10 high priority animal species in Indonesia that need special treatment. Besides Javanese Gibbons, Orangutans (Pongo abeii) and Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) are also on the critically endangered list. (naf)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Earthquakes lay waste to Manokwari, kill four

The Jakarta Post, Manokwari | Mon, 01/05/2009 11:06 AM

A series of powerful earthquakes rocked Manokwari, the capital of West Papua, on Sunday, killing four people, injuring dozens and destroying hundreds of buildings.

One 7.3-magnitude tremor was felt as far away as Australia and sent small tsunamis into Japan's southeastern coast, the Associated Press reported.

The first quake, magnitude 7.6, struck at 4:43 a.m. local time about 135 kilometers from Manokwari at a depth of 35 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Dozens of aftershocks followed.

At least four people died in Papua, where the runway of the airport nearest the epicenter was split by the force, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters.

"I've instructed emergency steps be taken to help our brothers and to restore power and other vital utilities," Yudhoyono said.

Among the dead was a 10-year-old girl, identified as Yolanda Mandofi, whose head was crushed, said local hospital director Hengky Tewu.

"Our ambulances are picking up two more," he said.

Another 19 patients at the hospital were treated for broken bones, cuts, crush wounds and other injuries.

Papua police chief Maj. Gen. Bagus Ekodanto said he had received reports that a hotel and a rice warehouse had been "destroyed", but he did not know if anyone had been killed in the incidences. A search for victims was under way.

Several stories of the Mutiara Hotel in the main city Manokwari collapsed, said Ina, a nurse at a navy hospital, adding that she had already treated 20 quake victims. The quakes also reportedly damaged the Kalidingin hotel.

Electricity was cut off to the coastal city of population 167,000, where people fled their homes in the dark fearing a tsunami, said Hasim Rumatiga, a local health official.

The quakes forced thousands of people to take refuge, including in military fields in the city, said Manokwari Military Commander Col. Inf. Irham Waroiham.

About 1,000 residents had taken shelter in a military field, 500 in a navy field, 500 in the yard of the Manokwari regent office and 7,000 others in Masni district, which lies just outside of Manokwari city.

The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency had issued a tsunami alert, but it was revoked within an hour after it was determined the epicenter of the main quake had been within the mainland.

Quakes centered well within the mainland do not pose the threat of a tsunami to Indonesia, but can still spread large waves to neighboring countries, such as Japan.

Japan's Meteorological Agency said tsunamis 10 to 40 centimeters in height swept into towns along the coast.

The quakes were also felt in Sorong regency. The regency police spokesman Snr. Comr. Agus Rianto told The Jakarta Post the quakes had damaged 18 houses, injuring 11 residents.

The latest quakes in Manokwari occurred on Oct. 10, 2002, the largest recorded at magnitude 7.6, killing three people. Another strong quake hit in 1996, triggering enormous waves that hammered into the north coastal area of Papua, as well as Sorong, Biak and Manokwari.

Nethy Dharma Somba and Angel Flashy contributed to this article from Jayapura, Papua.

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