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)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Alert Raised Over Volcano’s Deadly Gas

Jakarta Globe, Elisabeth Oktofani | May 31, 2011

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Authorities have raised the alert level for Mount Dieng in Central Java and have ordered the evacuation of residents living near the area after the volcano began spewing poisonous gas.

A sign warns villagers near Mount
Dieng against entering the danger zone.
Experts say the volcano has shown signs
of erupting. (Antara Photo)
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said on Monday that the alert status was raised from level 2 to level 3, which meant the volcano was showing signs of erupting.

He said scientists recorded increasing volcanic activity on Sunday. “There was phreatic eruption [a steam eruption without lava] which happened at the Timbang crater, one of the active craters,” Sutopo said.

He said the crater spouted jets of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide — both colorless and odorless.

Mount Dieng has six craters: Sileri, Siglagah, Condrodimuko, Sikidang, Sinila and Timbang. Scientists say the latter two are the most active.

Sutopo added that the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG) had declared a one-kilometer radius around Timbang off-limits. Several villages were covered by the danger zone.

“We have evacuated 1,179 people from Simbar and Sumber villages to [a village in] Batur subdistrict,” Sutopo said.

PVMBG chief Surono said on Monday that Mount Dieng’s eruption was marked by the emission of gas, which if inhaled in large amounts could be fatal.

He said that in 1979, CO2 from the Timbang crater killed 149 people. During the rainy season, the greenhouse gas stays close to the surface of the earth, making it deadlier, Surono added.

Muhammad Djasri, the Banjarnegara district chief, said the government on Monday declared a state of emergency in the area through to June 12.

Sarkono, head of Batur subdistrict, said that although residents in the danger zone had already been evacuated, many villagers were sneaking back to the Mount Dieng area to tend to their land and livestock.

Related Article:

Australia stops some cattle exports to Indonesia

The Jakarta Post, Associated Press | Tue, 05/31/2011

The Australian government suspended live cattle exports Tuesday to 11 Indonesian abattoirs featured in a television program showing suffering steers being whipped and taking minutes to bleed to death after their throats were cut.

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said the suspension would be in force while an investigator reviewed the 330 million Australian dollar ($350 million) per year live cattle trade with Indonesia. He warned that more slaughterhouses could be added to the banned list.

"I will appoint an independent reviewer to investigate the complete supply chain for live exports up to and including the point of slaughter," Ludwig said in a statement.

Indonesia officials could not immediately be reached for response.

While Australian abattoirs render cattle unconscious with stun guns before killing them, most in Indonesia follow the Islamic method of cutting the throats of conscious animals.

The 11 abattoirs in Jakarta, Bogor, Bandar Lampung and Medan were elected at random in March and video recorded by Lyn White, a former police officer and campaign director of the animal welfare group Animals Australia.

"We just stopped on the side of the road and asked people where their local abattoir was - it's as simple as that," White told The Associated Press.

She did not expect the government investigation would find conditions any more humane at the vast majority of other Indonesians abattoirs.

"There's about 770 (abattoirs) in Indonesia and only five stun, so only five would have remotely acceptable standards," White said.

Animal Australia and the Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, better known as the RSPCA, want the live cattle trade banned on cruelty grounds. Both cooperated with Australian Broadcasting Corp. to produce the gruesome television program screened nationally on Monday night.

RSPCA chif scientist Bidda Jones, who analyzed the video slaughter of 50 cattle, said the slaughter men used on average 11 cuts to the throat to kill each animal, and as many as 33. The Australian standard was death within 30 seconds.

"They basically hack the heads off with blunt knifes, causing a lot of distress and pain," Jones said.

Ludwig described the images as "shocking in the extreme." Charles Armstrong, president of the New South Wales state Farmers Association which represents many Australian cattle ranchers, labeled the Indonesian practices as "horrific cruelty."

Some key Greens party and independent lawmakers, whose support is crucial to the Labor Party government, as well some government lawmakers are calling for the trade with Indonesia to be suspended or terminated.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd told government colleagues at a meeting Tuesday that the trade suspensions with individual abattoirs would not harm Australia's "strong and robust relationship" with Indonesia.

Two government lawmakers, Janelle Saffin and Kelvin Thomson, proposed banning all live exports to Indonesia until abattoir standards were improved. Their proposal will be discussed by government colleagues at their next party meeting on June 14.

"There was a very strong view among caucus members ... that action had to occur," a spokesman for the meeting told reporters on the usual condition of anonymity.

The video showed abattoir workers break a bull's tail and repeatedly gouge its eyes and nostrils in failed attempts to get the animal to regain its feet, despite a broken leg.

At an abattoir in Medan in North Sumatra, cattle are seen tied and trembling as they watch other cattle slaughtered and skinned in front of them.

Before the government suspensions, Australian industry body LiveCorp had responded to the footage by suspending trade with three of the abattoirs featured and had sent trainers to a fourth.

"While we face many challenges in improving animal welfare in a developing country, we've made major progress during the past decade," LiveCorp chief executive Cameron Hall said.


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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Germany assists RI in forest, climate change program

Antara News, Thu, May 26 2011

Related News

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Germany has committed to assisting the Indonesian government in the Forest and Climate Change program (ForClime).

The ForClime program will be carried through two cooperation moduls, namely Technical Cooperation (TC) via GIZ with funds worth 6.75 million Euro and Financial Cooperation (FC) through KfW worth 20 million Euro, the forestry ministry said here Thursday in a press statement.

The program has a target to decrease the CO2 emission rate from deforestation and forest degradation by 300 to 400 thousand tons during a seven-year period.

The assistance was provided as the result of the bilateral negotiation held in October 2007.

The ForClime program launching was marked by "ForClime FC-Module National Kick-off Workshop".

The program`s demonstration activities on REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is implemented in three districts on Kalimantan Island, namely Kapuas Hulu, Malinau and Berau.

The objective of the program is to cut the greenhouse gas emission from the forestry sector and to improve the living condition of the rural people.

The gas emission rate will be reduced by addressing the main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation occurring the conserved forests, protected forests and production forests.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono recently signed a Presidential Instruction on deforestation moratorium to help curb the climate change impacts and preserve the remaining tropical forests and biodiversity in it.

The presidential decree on a moratorium on logging concessions for two years was only applicable to primary forests and peat lands in conserved forests, protected forests, production forests and the Other Use Land (APL).

Indonesia hosts the world`s third largest forest area after Brazil and Congo (formerly Zaire). Based on forestry ministry 2010 data, Indonesia has around 130 million hectares of forests, including 64.2 million hectares of primary forests, and 24.5 million hectares of peat lands.

Editor: Heru

Forestry Ministry to compensate victims of human-animal conflicts

Antara News, Thu, May 26 2011

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Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The forestry ministry plans to compensate victims of human-animal conflicts which often occur on Sumatra Island.

Zulkifli Hasan. (ANTARA)
"We in fact don`t have a special budget for this, but people who become victims in conflicts with wild animals, deserve compensation," Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said here Wednesday after visiting the Elephant Training Center at Way Kambas National park, eastern Lampung, southern Sumatra.

The number of conflicts between Sumatran elephants (elephas maximus sumatraensis) and local residents has increased lately.

In 2010, there were a total of 100 conflicts involving herds of 5-35 elephants.

This year, there have been 17 conflicts, excluding successful efforts to drive away wild elephants back to their habitat at the national parks.

Ahmad Suyudi, the head of Banjar Asri Village, which is located next to the Way Kambas National Park (TNWK), said his village`s residents have suffered huge losses because elephants often eat up their crops.

According to date from an integrated team to handle the human-elephant conflicts in East Lampung district, around 174 hectares of farming areas located at 22 villages surrounding TNWK, were destroyed by elephants in 2010, inflicting material losses worth Rp2.61 billion.

The 125,000-ha TNWK is a home for around 200-250 elephants.

The forestry ministry`s Director General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation Darori said the ministry has various efforts to deal with the human and wild animal conflicts on Sumatra Island.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Peatland-Clearing Ban May Ease Haze Woes

Jakarta Globe, Zubaidah Nazeer – Strait Times Indonesia, May 25, 2011

Cut logs being gathered from a peatland forest in a picture from a
 Greenpeace aerial survey mission over Sumatra last year. Some environmentalists
 say the moratorium is an 'anti-climax' and want it to cover existing concessions
in forest areas. (AFP Photo) 
 
   
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Now that clearing of new peatland is banned in Indonesia, countries affected by the haze from burning peat in Sumatra could get some breathing room.

That is assuming the landmark moratorium is enforced.

For years, Singapore and Malaysia suffered hazy skies and acrid smoke as landowners in Indonesia used traditional slash-and-burn methods to clear their concessions and plant the year's food and commercial crops, such as oil palm.

The moratorium — passed last Friday after a five-month delay — places about half of Indonesia's primary forest and peatland, or 64 million hectares, off limits to development till the end of next year.

“To the extent that the moratorium leads to less disturbance of such areas, this could lead to a commensurate reduction in the frequency and severity of haze events over time,” said Ms Frances Seymour, director-general of the Centre for International Forestry Research (Cifor).

It was, she said, the first step towards Indonesia's target of reducing carbon emissions by up to 26 percent by 2020.

The new areas of peatland covered under the moratorium are mainly scattered over the east coast of Sumatra and the southern tip of Kalimantan.

Indonesia is the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the United States, due largely to deforestation caused by illegal logging, mining and expansion by palm oil plantations.

The moratorium, hailed as a landmark step in tackling climate change, had been delayed as business people, green groups and the government tussled over the extent of the coverage.

As the world's largest palm oil exporter and one of the leading producers of rice, Indonesia is struggling to balance economic growth with environmental preservation. To nudge it forward, Norway last year extended a $1 billion package to help Indonesia create monitoring systems and pilot projects to protect forests.

Some environmentalists have called the moratorium an “anti-climax.” They wanted it to cover existing concessions in forest areas, so that producers could no longer strip them. They also pointed out that of the 64 million hectares of primary forest covered by the ban, at least 35 million hectares are already protected.

Greenpeace Indonesia had wanted 105 million hectares of forest to be included.

Yuyun Indradi, a Greenpeace campaigner, said that if current practices such as draining existing peatland concessions continue, protected areas close by remain at risk of being burned by extreme dry weather or lightning. “This will not reduce the haze problem,” he said.

Other environmentalists have over the past few days asked how the moratorium will be enforced and what will happen after next year.

A report by the Human Rights Watch in 2009 for instance pointed out that rampant corruption meant that local officials did not enforce rules when it came to land development.

“The impact of this remains to be seen,” Yuyun said. “But the positive side of this is that the government has stepped in to suspend new concessions.”

Agus Purnomo, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's special aide on climate change, said the government would issue recommendations on punishing those who flouted the ban.

Exact sanctions remain unclear, opening up the risk of poor implementation in a country with weak law enforcement.

Agus said the ban would allow the government to give “double protection” to natural forests at risk of illegal practices such as squatting and logging.

Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia. To subscribe to Straits Times Indonesia and/or the Jakarta Globe call 021 2553 5055

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

RI establishes parks to mark biodiversity day

Antara News, by Fardah, Tue, May 24 2011 

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Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Environmental Affairs Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta has inaugurated several biodiversity parks to mark International Biological Diversity Day (IDB) 2011.

(ANTARA/Eric Ireng)
The establishment of biodiversity parks was aimed at preserving biodiversity in regions which have biodiversity with unique characteristics, Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said when commemorating the IDB at Cibodas Botanical Garden, Pangrango, Bogor, West Java, Monday (May 22).

The newly inaugurated biodiversity parks are located in East Java, West Java and North Sulawesi Provinces. Later, similar biodiversity parks will also be built in other regions such as West Sumatra, Yogyakarta, and Lampung.

The United Nations (UN) proclaims May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues worldwide.

This year`s theme of IDB is "Forest Biodiversity", which coincides with 2011 as The International Year of Forests declared by the General Assembly to educate the global community about the value of forests and the extreme social, economic and environmental costs of losing them.

The year 2010 was declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) under the theme "Biodiversity is Life, Biodiversity is Our Life".

The destruction of forests is one of the most serious threats to the biodiversity loss.

Indonesia hosts the world`s third largest forest area after Brazil and Congo (formerly Zaire). But the country also is reported to be among countries with the fastest deforestation rate in the world.

According to Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, Indonesia`s forest areas cover around 130 million hectares, comprising 45 million hectares of premier forests, 45 million hectares of logged over areas, and 40 million hectares of critical forest areas.

About 17 percent of all species in the world can be found in Indonesia, although it accounts for only 1.3 percent of the Earth`s land surface.

For her abundant flora and fauna species and a wide range of natural habitats, Indonesia has been acknowledged by scientists as one of the world`s mega centers of biodiversity.

The forestry ministry`s data shows that the country`s forests are habitats for among other things 38,000 plant species including 27,500 species of floral plants (10 percent of the world`s floral plants), and 1531 species of birds (the world`s 5 percent). The country also has 3,000 species of medicinal plants.

"The commemoration of Biodiversity Day 2011 is expected to promote the preservation of biodiversity in the forest ecosystem as well as other ecosystems. By preserving the biodiversity as the national asset, it could give benefits to all people," the environmental affairs minister said.

He asked the local administrations in Indonesia to collect data on biological diversity in each region for biodiversity protection and prevent them from being stolen.

Biodiversity preservation could give benefit sharing to respective region if it is used by second or third parties, the minister said.

"Every derivative of biodiversity use will provide benefit to the concerned regions," he said.

The benefit sharing has been guaranteed following the signing of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization by Indonesia at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, US, on May 11, 2011.

Other countries signing the Nagoya Protocol at the UN last May were Guatemala, India, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, and Tunisia.

After the signing, Indonesia is expected to ratify the Nagoya Protocol for its implementation in the country.

Last October, the 193 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Nagoya Protocol, a landmark treaty that links conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity with development.

The Nagoya Protocol is an important instrument to optimize the genetic source use and stop biopiracy practices especially for a country like Indonesia.

It outline how benefits, for example, from when a plant`s genetics are turned into a commercial product, such as medicine - will be shared with countries and communities which conserved and managed that resource.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message to mark the IDB 2011 voiced concern over alarming deforestation and the degradation of woodlands and urged States to implement the recently agreed international treaty on sharing the benefits of the Earth`s genetic resources, including forests and the natural valuables found in them.

"Despite our growing understanding and appreciation of just how much we reap from forests, they are still disappearing at an alarming rate," he said

"Forests contain a vast - and barely catalogued - store of biodiversity. The early ratification and implementation of this protocol can support forest protection and the sustainable use of biodiversity. This, in turn, can contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable national development," said Ban as quoted on the official website of the UN.

"The benefits of forests are far-reaching. Forests catch and store water, stabilize soils, harbour biodiversity and make an important contribution to regulating climate and the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. This year`s International Day for Biological Diversity is devoted to highlighting the need for urgent action," he stated.

The United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, acclaimed actor and conservationist Edward Norton, for his part, warned that humanity is wreaking havoc with Earth`s capacity to sustain life through destructive exploitation of natural resources and decimation of the planet`s biodiversity.

"We are disrupting the natural systems of our planet in ways that will cause havoc for our way of life," Norton told UN News Centre in an interview marking the IDB 2011.

Prof. Emil Salim, former environmental affairs minister, said in Jakarta, last March 2011, Indonesia`s biodiversity can be the nation`s strength in facing global competition with developed countries.

"We have entered the 21st century witnessing the rise of countries such as China, India and Korea. In this competition Indonesia has the advantage of a rich biodiversity which the other countries don`t have," Emil said after a meeting on Indonesia`s preparations for the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol.

Indonesia, he noted, was a country with the second richest biodiversity in the world after Brazil and geographically located between two continents and with two seasons a year - factors that had made it rich in land and marine natural resources.

The government, in fact, has drafted a Bill on Genetic Resources Management since 2002, but it has not been adopted into a law.

Senior Diplomat Makarim Wibisono said in Jakarta, last March, Indonesia was among the first to sign and ratify the Nagoya Protocol because Indonesia is among countries which are striving for the adoption of the access and benefit sharing principle.

"In the past, a country`s sovereignty only covers land, water and air, but now biodiversity is also included in the sovereignty concept," Makarim stated.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

Monday, May 23, 2011

RI`s forest cutting moratorium begins gaining int`l acclaim

Antara News, by Eliswan Azly, Mon, May 23 2011

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Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The recently introduced moratorium on forest conversions has begun winning international acclaim with Norway expressing its appreciation to Indonesia for imposing the two-year ban on cutting down peat land and primary forests

(ANTARA/Iggoy el Fitra)
Norway`s Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim hailed the signing of a Presidential Instruction on a two-year moratorium on forest clearing in Indonesia.

"The moratorium is an important step forward for Indonesia. What Indonesia has embarked on is a very serious developmental choice. Indonesia`s efforts to combine the goal of 7% economic growth with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020 are commendable," Solheim said in a press statement in Oslo, Norway, on Monday.

The moratorium will help facilitate the attainment of the two goals, and constitutes an important part of a broader land use reform agenda in Indonesia, though it will not in itself ensure success, he stated.

Indonesia is still working on robustly mandating and establishing a new REDD+ Agency and an independent institution for monitoring, reporting and verifying green house gas emissions.

The rest of the reforms Indonesia has committed itself to would be crucial, thus helping the implementation of the reform agenda, he added.

"But the moratorium is one important part of the puzzle," the minister said.

Indonesia`s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono finally signed a long-awaited two-year moratorium on new logging concessions for primary forests and peat lands.

In the meantime, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s special aide on climate change, Agus Purnomo, said illegal practices such as squatting and logging, had encroached on primary forests, leading the government to consider it necessary to give double protection to areas already under legal protection from exploitation.

"The decree will help stop such problems, as it will explicitly emphasize the duty to protect forests. With the decree, the Presidential Work Unit for Development Control and Monitoring [UKP4] will be able to issue recommendations to the president on punishing perpetrators," he said.

Brought on by the relentless expansion of palm oil plantations and mining and logging activities, deforestation has earned Indonesia the dubious distinction of being the world`s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, just behind China and the US.

The moratorium, delayed by five months from its planned January start, was signed into law Thursday under a US$1-billion climate deal with Norway.

The decree was part of a $1 billion deal with Norway to protect Indonesia`s natural forests and peat lands.

In line with a Letter of Intent (LOI) between Indonesia and Norway, called the Oslo Accord, the government was supposed to impose a moratorium on deforestation starting January 2011.

The government has been under pressure from industry lobbyists who promised significant investments if allowed to continue exploiting forests.

The decree will only protect primary forests which already have legal protection and peat land, while allowing the conversion of other forests for geothermal projects, sugar and rice plantations and ecosystem "restoration" projects.

Critics say the decree would have no impact on the current state of forests in the country.

Agus said the government would focus on protecting forests that were still intact because it would be difficult to relocate people who have already occupied degraded forests.

"We will issue more regulations on forest preservation and form an agency to oversee REDD projects."

In addition, such a praise also came from the Indonesian Corruption Watch saying that deforestation had actually caused to suffer a loss of Rp 71 trillion (US$8.02 billion).

According to a recently released research report from the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), 5.4 million hectares were deforested in Indonesia between 2005 and 2009, which was equal to a Rp 71.28 trillion financial loss.

"It includes Rp 64.8 trillion in forest resources and Rp 6.48 trillion in forest resource provisions, as well as losses caused by undelivered reforestation funds," said the ICW said.

The ICW said that the Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a research report in 2009 that said that corruption and racketeering in the forestry sector in Indonesia had caused an estimated loss of Rp 20 trillion a year to the government.

The ICW said that according to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), there were 17 systemic problems on arrangement and monitoring in the Indonesian forestry sector.

Indonesia`s ambition in the palm oil sector has been stated as a major reason for the government`s reluctance to include secondary forests in the regulation.

The government aims to become the largest palm oil producer in the world with a goal to produce 40 million tons of crude palm oil by 2020.

Indonesia is currently the largest exporter and producer with 7.5 million hectares of oil palm plantations, 45 percent of which are managed by smallholders.

However, palm oil producers, continue to lambaste the moratorium.

Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki) executive director Fadhil Hasan said the moratorium could cause new problems because it ran counter to a 1990 presidential decree allowing the use of peat land less than 3 meters deep.

"The moratorium did not include the management of degraded forests that could be used for other economic activities, while the letter of intent [with Norway] said the government must identify degraded forests that could be used for other economic activities," he said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Turning herbs into cash

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Wonogiri, Central Java | Sun, 05/22/2011


Workers are busy making herbal products at PT Deltomed company in Wonogiri,
Central Java. The company, which has been producing herbal products for 35 years,
works with farmers to provide raw materials for the products. JP/Indah Setiawati

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Some cashew trees grew in Karto Satiman’s garden. But none of them produced ripe fruit.

“We did not have crops the past two years because of the weather. The heavy rain damaged the flowers of the cashew trees,” the 72-year-old resident of Rejosari village, Jatisrono district, in Central Java’s Wonogiri regency told The Jakarta Post.

He explained in a flat tone. No trace of sadness or bitterness in his voice. The old man did not even look very disappointed with the fact he had lost potential income from cashew nuts, which had become a high value commodity in his district.

His eyes turned bright when he talked about turmeric – a new favorite among local farmers – that would be ready in August. “Turmeric can survive in bad weather. It grows well during the rainy days,” he said.

Modern equipment is used in the
production of herbal commodities.
Karto, a spokesperson for the Sari Bumi farmers group, said farmers in Jatisrono were not too dependent on cashew nuts anymore thanks to turmeric, a commodity introduced in 2005.

During the past six years, the Sari Bumi farmers group has cooperated with PT Deltomed. They supply tons of turmeric to the Wonogiri-based company that has been producing herbal products for 35 years.

Previously, the farmers in the district had not realized that turmeric would grow well on their land. Planting rhizome plants such as turmeric, ginger and temulawak (Curcuma xanthorrhiza) were a tradition in the village. The villagers used to plant in small quantities for family consumption. Sometimes they sold the remainder at the market for additional income.

Karto said people in the village consumed turmeric for cooking and to reduce body odor. The herb was also good for breastfeeding mothers and women who just gave birth, he said.

“We used to plant rhizomes without treatments like preparing the land for cultivation and adding fertilizer because we thought they grew anyway,” he said.

Sari Bumi head Hardianto said farmers were enthusiastic when Deltomed officials offered cooperation after discovering their land was perfect for turmeric.

He said the development of turmeric farming was a good decision because the rhizomes could grow well on unused space under the shade of the many cashew trees in the village.

Turmeric is a new favorite among
farmers it survives bad weather
and grows well during rainy days.
The farmers received training about how to cultivate the soil in their yards to plant turmeric. They also make organic fertilizer from a mixture of teak leaves and goat and cow manure.

“The production cost is too small to mention because the seeds are accessible as we have planted it for generations and fertilizer material is available all around us,” Hardianto said.

With good treatment and nutrients from fertilizer, turmeric grows like crazy in the area and is of high quality. Farmers will dry the wet turmeric for three days until the water volume reaches 10 percent before selling it to Deltomed or other buyers.

“We try to maintain the quality by applying the right drying method. We dry the sliced turmeric without turning it upside-down to maintain the good color,” Karto said.

The 80 farmers in the village can normally produce 49 tons of wet turmeric a year. After drying, that is seven tons of dry turmeric.

PT Deltomed purchased each kilogram of dry turmeric for Rp 14,000 (US$1.64) last year. Karto said the company would purchase any quantity of the crop. It also let farmers sell the turmeric to other buyers if offered a higher price.

Larto, another farmer, said he initially planted turmeric because he had joined the farmers group, which required members to plant the same plants.

“I am happy now with the decision because the crop can give me additional income,” he said.

The farmers in the group were eager to plant other kinds of herbs in order to generate additional income. Hardianto said they are trying to plant small quantities of some types of ginger as requested by a Japanese company.

He said the village could produce good quality elephant ginger, but they could not sell it to Deltomed because the company only bought red ginger that contained high essential oils and were spicier.

“We tried to plant red ginger but failed because it requires colder temperatures,” Hardianto said, adding that the plant grew better in Kismantoro district in the eastern part of the regency.

Herb farming in the country faces good prospects, but its development remains slow compared to other developing countries.

The Forestry Ministry recorded that in 2005, the European Union imported over 358,000 tons of herbs and spices from developing countries.


It noted that around 60 percent of those imports came from other countries such as China, India, Morocco and Turkey, not Indonesia.

On the other hand, ministry data says that the country is home to 75 percent of the plants in the world. Of that, 940 are types of herbs that grow in Indonesia, or 90 percent of the herbs that grow in Asia.

The ministry reported that farmers only develop 20 to 22 percent of the hundreds of herbs in the country, with the remaining 78 percent taken from the forest.

Jatisrono may be taking baby steps with its turmeric farming, but those steps do count for herb development in the country.

Once its herbal industry develops, the district will make organic herbs its main product along with its delicious cashew nuts.


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