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.

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)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

United Nations to Help Fund REDD Program

Tempo Interactive, Wednesday, 31 March, 2010 | 15:51 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Department of Forestry and the United Nations (UN) agreed to a collaborate on a joint Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project valued at US$ 5.6 million.

Through this program, the United Nations will help the Indonesian government to prepare the REDD program on a national scale. The Minister of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan, said that this cooperation is part of the UN program to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing country (UN-REDD) funded by the Norwegian government.


Forestry Department Announces East Kalimantan Forest Violators

Tempo Interactive, Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 | 12:30 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Forestry Department has listed at least 150 forest exploration violations cases in East Kalimantan and has ordered other provincial administrations to report similar violations in their respective regions.

Director General of Forest Protection nad Nature Conservacy of the Forestry Department Darori said “There were two companies found exploiting resources within the Bukit Soeharto (Soeharto Hill) Great Forest Area,” a conservation area for research and educational purposes of Mulawarman State University.

The companies are PT Artha Pratama Jaya dan PT Kaltim Batu Manunggal, with the first one has mined about 40 hectares of areas in the conservation zone.

Darori also admitted that the two mining companies were just small fraction of over a dozen other breaching into the national park.

The Forestry Department said it has sent a team to investigate all the cases, adding that among all regiona East Kalimantan and North Sumatra were probably identified with some of the worst forestry violations.


Landslide cuts traffic between Padang, Bukittinggi

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Tue, 03/30/2010 10:38 PM

A landslide in Anai Valley severely damaged a bridge connecting the West Sumatra capital of Padang and neighboring Bukittinggi on Tuesday.

Provincial disaster management agency official Ade Edward said more landslides might occur in the coming few days as heavy rain had continued falling around the disaster site.

“The situation is still dangerous. I’m still trapped here [disaster site] as landslides also struck in some other places,” Ade told

The landslide also damaged four houses, but all their 20 inhabitants survived the disaster unhurt, he added.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yudhoyono: turn disaster area into tourist site

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 29 March 2010 - 3:14pm

Victims of the 2006 Lapindo mudflow disaster pray in Sidoarjo, East Java, during Idul Fitri holiday on Sept. 20 2009. (Photo: Fully Handoko, EPA)

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says a disaster area created by a massive hot volcanic mud slide could be turned into a geological tourist attraction.

"With good layout and good concepts, we can turn this place into something useful for the community, whether as a geological tourist attraction, a fishery or for other public activities," he said in a rare visit to East Java's Sidoarjo district.

The mudslides started in 2006; some 40,000 people have been evacuated, 12 villages have been buried, 13 people have been killed and around 100,000 people are endangered by the volcanic mud. An Australian expert has estimated that it has caused 3.6 billion euros worth of damage.

The government says the volcanic mud slide was caused by a minor earthquake in Yogyakarta, about 280 kilometres away. However, earlier this year independent investigators revealed fresh evidence that gas drillers were to blame for the ongoing mud slide.

The company conducting the drilling, Lapindo Brantas has denied responsibility for the mud flow but has agreed to pay around 300 million euros compensation to around 10,000 families affected by the disaster. Many people say the money has been delayed or that they have only received partial payments. Lapindo Brantas is connected to the powerful Golkar party and Indonesia's ruling coalition government.

Satellite picture received from Ikonos Satellite Image on May 29, 2008 shows the mud volcano and its surrounding area in Sidoarjo, East Java. (AFP/Ikonos Satellite Image)

More pictures ....

Related Articles:

SBY’s party threatens to use mudflow case

Golkar Party thinks mudflow disaster a dream comes true for tourism

SBY wants mudflow victims paid

Indonesia Widens Sidoarjo Mudflow Damage Probe

Lapindo Disaster Caused By Human Error: Study

SBY urges Lapindo to pay for mudflow victims’ relocation

The Jakarta Post, Mon, 03/29/2010 5:57 PM | National

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has urged PT Lapindo Brantas, whose drilling activities allegedly triggered the mudflow disaster in 2006, to expedite relocation payments to the mudflow victims in Porong, Sidoarjo in East Java.

In his second visit to the mudflow site, Yudhoyono’s first visited the disaster site in 2008, the President took the opportunity to have a closed-door meeting with 10 local residents Monday, as reported by

Yudhoyono urged his aides to see to it that the funds were given to the victims immediately.

Related Article:

Lapindo Disaster Caused By Human Error: Study

North Sumatra Villagers Hunt Deadly Python

Jakarta Globe, March 29, 2010

Children look at a python found in Malang, East Java last week.
(Antara Photo/Ari Bowo Sucipto)

Indonesian villagers are hunting a giant python that killed a 13-year-old boy a week ago on Sumatra island.

Police Chief Capt. Joshua Tampubolon said Monday that the 7-meter-long python was believed to be hiding in waterway tunnels built by a textile company for its industrial waste.

Villagers from Percut Sei Tuan in North Sumatra's Deli Serdang district blocked road access to the tunnels Sunday to protect the public.

Tampubolon said the victim and three friends were swimming in the Tembung River when the snake attacked March 21. It strangled and nearly swallowed the boy before villagers armed with spears forced it to flee.

Pythons native to Indonesia usually grow up to 6 meters.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two elephants found dead in Riau

Antara News, Sunday, March 28, 2010 22:12 WIB

Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - Two Sumatran elephants (Elephas Maximus Sumatranus) were found dead in the Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau province.

"The two elephants are predicted to have died about a week ago and found in the national park," head of the Tesso Nilo national park Suprahman said here, Sunday.

He said that the wild elephants were found dead in Air Hitam village, Pelalawan regency, Riau.

The national park`s staff initially found the estimated six to seven years old dead male elephant with a missing right tusk on Saturday (27/3) at 9.00 pm local time.

After conducting patrol, another dead elephant was also found about 100 meters away from the first one will its tasks still intact.

Suprahman said that the Tesso Nilo National Park with the Central Natural Resources Conservation (BBKSDA) Riau, WWF (world Wildlife Fund) and the Ukui Police is now doing further investigations on the elephant`s cause of death.

Suprahman said that the team is still unable to identify the perpetrators and the elephant`s cause of death.

The WWF Riau Public relation officer, Syamsidar, said that the dead elephans were found in cleared forest area which had being converted into a palm estate.

Within the last month three Sumatran elephants were found dead after being killed in Riau. Last week, an elephant was also found dead with missing tusks in Petani village, Mandau sub-district, Bengkalis District.

"From the tusk cut, most likely the perpetrator was not a hunter," he said.

The law enforcement agencies however are still unable to arrest any of the perpetrators.

Int'l Involvement in Breeding Rhinoceros in Indonesia, Sabtu, 27 Maret 2010 | 08:46 WIB

Indian Rhinoceros

PANDEGLANG, - The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) in cooperation with an Indonesian counterpart is to establish a Javanese rhinoceros breeding center near the southern foot of Mount Honja in the Ujungkulon Natonal Park, Banten.

"IRF has stated its preparedness to fund the project which is to be implemented in collaboration with the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI)," the park’s chief, Agus Priambudi, said here Friday.

Preparations to carry out the project had already started, and when the 4,000-hectare reserve was completed, it would be dedicated by Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah. If everything went well, work to build the center would begin later this year, he said, adding the area would then also serve as a wild life park.

He said the Javanese rhinoceros (rhinoceros sondaicus) population in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Pandeglang district now stood at 50 head. The number had remained relatively small because the animal was multiplying at a slow rate with most of them being studs.

So far, the one-horn rhinoceros in the park had never been killed by hunters and when dead rhinos were found, they proved to have died because of their advanced age or by an illness. The average Javanese rhino had a maximum life span of 40 years which was quite high among animals.

He said the park authority in cooperation with other parties including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was conducting periodic head counts on the rhino population.

Friday, March 26, 2010

‘Mosaic system’ proposed for plantations

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 03/26/2010 9:27 PM

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has asked oil palm plantation companies to adopt mosaic systems to help maintain biodiversity in plantations, and to address mounting criticism of the industry over environmental concerns.

Minister Zulkilfli sent a letter to Agriculture Minister Suswono in February asking for the development of the mosaic system, requiring companies to maintain areas of original vegetation of high conservation value.

Forestry Ministry Forest Production Director General Hadi Daryanto said the ideal percentage of plantation on plots of land was around 70 percent.

“The remaining area should be set aside for, among others, the protection of biodiversity. We want both [the forestry and agriculture] ministers to have one voice in responding to protests on environmental issues from the international community,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Zulkilfli said the mosaic pattern system, which had been adopted in industrial forest plantations, could also minimize diseases that thrive in monoculture plantations.

Indonesia on Shakier Ground, Experts Warn

Jakata Globe, Nurfika Osman, March 26, 2010

Students in Banda Aceh have been participating in exercises, to increase their ability to face earthquakes and tsunamis. (Antara Photo/Ampelsa)

Massive earthquakes over the past few years have increased the volatility of the tectonic plates beneath the archipelago, experts have warned. They have called for more quake-proof buildings to withstand the heightened threat.

“We are more at risk as the ground becomes more vulnerable and the effects of earthquakes are going to be more devastating,” Mulyo Haris Pradono of the Earthquake Engineering and Disaster Mitigation Unit at the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) said on Friday.

He was referring to peak ground acceleration, a measure of earthquake acceleration on the ground and an important calculation for earthquake engineering.

Mulyo said the PGA in the southern part of Sumatra, Java, North Sulawesi and Papua was the highest in Indonesia.

The assessment is based on research conducted in 2002 and the data is expected to be updated in 2012.

Massive quakes last year that heighten the PGA included the 7.3-magnitude temblor in West Java on Sept. 2, the 7.6-magnitude quake that rocked West Sumatra on September 30 and the 7.2 tremor in West Papua in January.

According to the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), there are 23 earthquake-prone provinces in the country, including Aceh, West Sumatra, West Java, East Java, Bali, West Papua and Papua.

Mulyo said that as increased ground movement was inevitable, the only solution was to build quake-proof buildings in vulnerable areas.

“We are still conducting in-depth research and are assisting West Sumatra to build safer buildings with help from Japan,” he said.

“The point is that now we have to be more aware and prepare for earthquakes.”

He said the primary challenge was the lack of public awareness and effective regulations governing safe construction as people continued to build unsafe structures because they were cheaper.

Fumihiko Imamura, from Japan’s Tohoku University, said the BPPT and Japan had surveyed collapsed buildings in Padang.

“We concluded that many mistakes occurred in the structural planning of the buildings and homes,” Imamura said.

“In order to fix this we need not only a scientific approach but also a social and cultural approach to convince people that they need to live in a safer place to reduce the hazard.”

The two countries last year established a four-year research program called Multidisciplinary Hazard Reduction from Earthquakes and Volcanoes in Indonesia, in an effort to minimize the impact of disasters.

Fourteen institutions from both nations are involved in the joint research.

Indonesia Minister Says Nestle Has ‘Right’ to Cut Off Sinar Mas

BusinessWeek, by Achmad Sukarsono ,March 25, 2010, 9:48 PM EDT

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Nestle SA’s decision to stop buying from Indonesian palm-oil producer Sinar Mas Group over deforestation concerns is “perfectly normal,” the country’s environment minister said, suggesting the government doesn’t plan to protest.

“That’s their right as a consumer,” Gusti M. Hatta said in an interview in Jakarta yesterday, speaking of Nestle’s decision. “If there’s a clear violation, then I would cut them off without mercy,” he said, adding an investigation into the country’s biggest maker of palm oil is ongoing.

Nestle’s dropping of Sinar Mas sparked calls for the government to speak out on behalf of the palm-oil industry, which produces the country’s biggest agricultural export by sales. The Indonesian Palm Oil Association last week said the Vevey, Switzerland-based company’s decision was “unfair.”

“We need intervention from the government because the impact could reach other palm oil companies,” Libria Sefita Dewi, a palm oil analyst at PT Mega Capital Indonesia, said in a phone interview. “The image of Indonesian palm oil producers could become so bad that a defense is necessary.”

Nestle’s action came after a Greenpeace report said Sinar Mas illegally destroyed rainforest areas that are a key habitat for orangutans.

Unilever NA suspended deliveries from Sinar Mas in December and U.S. food provider Cargill Inc. may stop doing business with Sinar Mas if a global trade body validates the Greenpeace report, the company said yesterday on its Web site.

‘Responsible Land Clearing’

PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology, Sinar Mas’s palm-oil unit, is “committed to applying responsible land clearing and the best practice of farming management in all of our plantations,” President Director Jo Daud Dharsono said by phone on March 17.

“It’s not fair if major companies such as Nestle and Unilever dropped supplies from Indonesian producers just based on one report,” Fadhil Hasan, executive director at the Indonesian Palm Oil Association told reporters in Jakarta on March 18.

The country’s palm-oil exports may rise to 18 million tons this year from 15.5 million tons in 2009, the Indonesian Palm Oil Association said Jan. 26. Sales reached $10 billion last year, the association said.

Coal Mines

Legislation that takes effect next month will give Indonesia’s Environment Ministry power to revoke business licenses and permits without having to go through police. The ministry will first use the new law to crack down on coal producers in Borneo “because there are companies that have built mines in forested areas without approval,” Hatta said, without naming them.

“Almost half” of more than 1,500 mines appearing in Indonesian Borneo in the past decade are illegal, he said.

Larger producers such as PT Bumi Resources and PT Adaro Energy “tend to be good” in managing the environment, Hatta said. Some businesses have “misinterpreted” the government’s intent to enforce the new law, Hatta said.

“We’ll give time” to the companies to deal with their environmental issues “although we’ll strictly monitor the progress,” he said.

Rules governing the oil industry will be clarified within a year, he said, and “tolerance” will be given to mature oil fields.

The energy ministry is seeking a three-year delay on enforcing existing environmental rules. Applying them immediately could lead to a 40 percent drop in oil and gas output, energy ministry official Evita Legowo said Feb. 24.

Southeast Asia’s biggest economy expects to produce 965,000 barrels of oil per day this year, compared with 949,000 barrels a day last year, according to energy-ministry data.

--Editors: Patrick Harrington, Greg Ahlstrand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Achmad Sukarsono in Jakarta

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Ahlstrand

Related Article:

Nestle drops Indonesian supplier on rainforest concerns

Obama To Bring Climate Change Agenda To Indonesia

Antara News, Friday, March 26, 2010 04:14 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - US President Barack Obama who has delayed until next June his planned visit to Indonesia will bring three agenda items on climate change, a WWF official said.

"There are three agenda items, namely forest and peat land management, clean technology and climate change, and coral triangle," WWF-Indonesia Program Director for climate and energy affairs, Fitrian Ardiansyah said here on Thursday.

Fitrian said that for the forest and peat land management, the United States would see how far Indonesia could cut its gas emissions and the chance for cooperation.

"There is a tropical forest conversion program where a fund would be made available for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme," she said.

If Indonesia is able to formulate it, there would be a clean technology such as renewable energy technology and energy conservation, she said.

Regarding the coral triangle, the United States will continue its scientific research and coral reef protection programs.

"We hope with the visit of Obama there would be comprehensive bilateral cooperation, but all this would depend on the ability of Indonesia to make use of this opportunity, provide a clear proposal and show its priorities to the United States," Fitrian said.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nowhere to go

The Jakarta Post, Thu, 03/25/2010 6:55 PM

Nowhere to go: An aerial view of an inundated residential site in Karawang, West Java, from floodwater on Thursday. Heavy rain over the past few days caused Citarum River to overflow, severely inundating most areas in Karawang. Poor forest conversion in area encompassed by a river in the regency also contributed to floods. Antara/Saptono

Related Article:

Indonesia Declares Karawang Floods ‘Not National Disaster’

Helping hand: Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring shakes hand with a resident during a visit to flood-hit Telukjambe subdistrict in Karawang. Tifatul handed over humanitarian assistance to the flood victims Saturday. – Antara/ M.Ali Khumaini|


The Jakarta Post, Thu, 03/25/2010 8:10 PM

Welcome!: Photographers take pictures of a Komodo dragon babies shown by a keeper at Surabaya Zoo in Surabaya, East Java, on Thursday. The zoo welcomed the births of 25 Komodo dragons, hatched after eight months in incubators. AP/Trisnadi

Global deforestation rate falling

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 25 March 2010 - 11:26am

World leaders planting trees (Photo: EPA)

The rate of global deforestation has fallen over the last decade. The UN's Food and Agriculture organisation says this indicates that measures to combat the destruction of forests are beginning to have an effect.

Nevertheless, the FAO warns that over five million hectares of woodland are still being destroyed each year. This is an area larger than the whole of the Netherlands.

The average area of woodland lost annually over the last decade was 13 million hectares, compared to 16 million in the preceding ten years. Major reforestation projects in China, India and Vietnam have compensated for the destruction of some woodlands.

Related Article:

China steams ahead on clean energy

Forest loss slows, as China plants and Brazil preserves

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Indonesia Merging Deforestation Rules to Spur Carbon Trading

Jakarta Globe, Fidelis E Satriastanti, March 24, 2010

A forest in South Sumatra. Indonesia has enacted three regulations to stem deforestation, and now wants to consolidate them to ease implementation and investment in carbon-trading schemes. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Less than a year after finalizing them, the government is set to untangle regulations aimed at reducing deforestation and forest degradation in a bid to attract carbon-trading investment.

Wandojo Siswanto, head of the climate-change working group at the Forestry Ministry, said the three regulations to be reviewed all cover the same ground, including demonstration activities, carbon-storage activities and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation procedures.

REDD is a United Nations initiative aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions from deforestation and degradation. In the scheme, rich nations provide incentives for developing countries to preserve woodlands.

“We want to review [the regulations] so people have a better understanding which one to follow,” Wandojo said.

The regulations are to be combined into one because they are all tied to a single purpose.

Indonesia is the first nation to establish a legal framework for REDD, which has not yet been implemented at international level, Wandjojo said.

“We want to keep the lead in the world and also at the negotiation table, and we have been trying to look at troubles for investment” resulting from the regulations, Wandojo said.

“We want to make sure that this [new regulation] can be easily implemented,” he said.

He added that the review was expected to be finalized before the Mexico climate summit in November.

The World Bank says 20 trial schemes are in various stages of development in Indonesia. Banks, including Merrill Lynch and Macquarie Group of Australia, are among the investors.

Indonesia is also under increasing international pressure to curb deforestation, particularly illegal logging.

The fate of indigenous peoples will also be dealt with in the revised regulation, offering legal grounds for tribes struggling to claim forests as their homes and their main source of support.

The first regulation, issued in December 2008, focuses on pilot projects for REDD, simply known as demonstration activities.

The second regulation, issued last May, deals with technical implementation for the REDD mechanism, starting with developers, verifiers and certifications. The rule outlines the rights and obligations of those who have implemented the scheme.

The same month, the ministerial regulation for procedures on carbon-storage activities was issued. It details benefit-sharing of REDD proceeds by the government, developers and local communities.

Commenting on the planned revision, Andri G Wibisana, an expert on environmental law at the University of Indonesia, said that it was not about reviewing the regulations but determining the country’s position at the inter national level.

“It’s obvious that overlapping regulations need to be sorted out. However, this is not just about the ministerial regulations but rather on clarity of the whole mechanism,” Andri said.

“There are no specific regulations made for REDD, even at the international level. There’s no standard for the measurement, definition and so on.”

Agus Setyarso, executive chairman of the National Forestry Council, said the government had not been very clear on where it wanted to go when it initially issued the regulations.

“From the beginning, the council strongly criticized the regulations, especially on the benefit-sharing part, because it is no different from concessionaires’ rights [HPH],” Agus said.

“REDD is to encourage people to take the initiative and help the government reduce emissions,” he said.

“They are supposed to be given incentives, not disincentives like this. I mean that these people should be rewarded for protecting forests and not merely trading carbon.”

Food estate projects to dig deeper into forests

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 03/24/2010 7:11 PM

Greenomics Indonesia predicted Wednesday most of the planned 1.6 million of hectares of food estates in Merauke, Papua, would open forested areas.

An assessment of forestry data by Greenomics said there were only 300,000 hectares of production forest there, which could be converted into other purposes such as food estate projects.

“The area is not large scale; they are scattered and the permit should be issued by the Forestry Ministry,” Executive Director Elfian Effendi said.

He said that if the project developers wanted to use the land, they should secure from the Forestry Ministry the approval from the House of Representatives.

“There must be an independent team to assess the area, and all mechanisms in securing permits should be implemented before utilizing the land,” he said.

The Agriculture Ministry planned to establish 1.6 million of hectares of food estates and energy in Papua.

But the Forestry Ministry has yet to provide the license to convert virgin forests into food estates.

Data from Greenomics said that out of 4.7 million hectares of land in Merauke, 95 percent was still forested area. It says there are 3.42 million hectares believed to be virgin forest in Merauke.

Lightning kills four, injures three in Bone

Antara News, Wednesday, March 24, 2010 18:12 WIB

Makassar (ANTARA News) - A bolt of lightning killed four and severely injured three other people at Lakeppang, Bune village, Libureng sub district, Bone District, South Sulawesi, Tuesday evening.

The dead victims were identified as M Ali (55), Alimuddin (37), Sumiati (35) and Ayis Sautra (3), while the injured were Akmal (18), Sanating (50) and Agus (24).

The accident happened when the victims, all farmers, were taking a lunch break in a small hut located in a rice field amid heavy rain, according to Darwis, a local figure, here on Wednesday.

Suddenly, lightning struck the hut killing the four farmers instantly and inlicting burns on the three others.

The injured victims were immediately rushed to Watampone Regional Genaral Hospital, while the dead bodies were sent to their respective homes.

Whirlwind destroys 185 houses in Boyolali

Antara News, Wednesday, March 24, 2010 18:11 WIB

Boyolali (ANTARA News) - A whirlwind that swept through two villages at Ampel subdistrict in Boyolali district, Central Java, on Tuesday evening destroyed at least 185 houses.

Ampel subdistrict official, Hartono, said here on Wednesday that the whirlwind destroyed 80 houses at Gladagsari village and 105 houses at Tanduk village in Boyolali.

"We continue to take data about the incident and find out that three of the houses at Tanduk village were seriously damaged after a tree fell on them," Hartono said.

But he added that there was no fatality in the incident.

Meanwhile, Gladagsari village head Edi Suryono said the local residents were currently cooperating to clear up uprooted trees that blocked some roads and fell on some houses.

"The district administration officials have sent logistic assistance of one tons of rice, instant noodles, and other necessities to the disaster-hit villages," Edi Suryono said.

He said the whirlwind that swept through the two villages at 5 on Tuesday evening lasted in about ten minutes but it destroyed a lot of houses.

The people ran out of their houses in panic because they were afraid their houses would tumble and trap them inside.

Community networks key to forest reform

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 03/24/2010 6:01 PM

Communities linked to their own networks and organizations have the best chance of success in community forestry, a research finds.

The three-year research project, conducted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), assessed 30 sites in 10 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“The research focused on communities that had fought for or been granted new statutory rights,” Anne Larson, senior associate at CIFOR said.

The findings were published in a book, Forest for People: Community Rights Forest Tenure Reform, which was launched on Wednesday.

“We aimed at identifying issues and concerns from the perspective of socially and economically vulnerable groups that were seeking tenure reforms,” she said.

Tenure reforms – a change in tenure rights in forested areas – represent a forest reform comparable to widespread agrarian reforms of the mid 20th century.

Although the world’s forests are still primarily public land, more than a quarter of forests in developing countries are now owned by or assigned to communities.

It said that tenure was particularly important in light of the ongoing negotiations on REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation).

For REDD schemes to be successful, clear ownership of forest resources and carbon pools needs to be established so that payments for carbon sequestration can be made. Without having secure rights and clear ownership over carbon pools, communities and indigenous groups may not be able to claim benefits from REDD schemes, and may even be dispossessed.

This would be to the detriment of efforts both to mitigate climate change and to ensure equity, Anne said.

Repeated flooding hits 887 hectares of Karawang rice fields

Antara News, Wednesday, March 24, 2010 17:24 WIB

Karawang, West Java (ANTARA News) - Some 837 hectares of rice fields in Karawang District, West Java , have been submerged by flood waters since last Thursday (March 18) because of repeated overflows of the Citarum River.

"The inundated rice fields are located in eight sub districts, and the worst-affected farming areas are in Ciampel and Klari sub districts," Nachrowi M Nur, head of the Karawang agricultural and forestry office, said here on Wednesday.

The floods caused great material losses to local farmers, he said.

The affected sub districts are Telukjambe Timur, Telukjambe Barat, Karawang Barat, Karawang Timur, Ciampel, Klari, Batujaya, and Pakisjaya.

The floods also invaded over 9,500 houses in Karawang District.

Meanwhile, floods inundated around 7,000 houses in the subdistricts of Baleendah, Dayeuhkolot and Bojongsoang, Bandung district, also in West Java Province, following the overflowing of the Citarum river on Tuesday.

Rice fields in Solokanjeruk and Rancaekek subdistricts, Bandung district, were also deluged.

The flood waters in general were actually beginning to subside but they still stood high in Dayeuhkolot and Baleendah subdistricts, said Mudjiadi, a Bandung district administration official.

Most of the affected residents had abandoned their homes and evacuated to higher ground because of the floods which had been hitting the district over the past four days.

Local authorities have also set up public kitchens and distributed food, medicines, blankets and clothes to flood victims.

Elephant`s carcass found in Bengkalis

Antara News, Wednesday, March 24, 2010 17:11 WIB

Bengkalis, Riau (ANTARA News) - A Sumatran elephant (elephant maximus sumateraonsis) was found dead in Mandau sub district, Bengkalis District, Riau Province.

Poiman (60), a local villager, said the elephant`s corpse was found after somebody smelled something bad near the main road when entering a forest area managed by PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia (CPI), Wednesday at 5 am local time.

"We don`t know what had caused the elephant`s death. People just found a rotting corpse and covered it with leafs and branches. We did not want to approach it because it was very smelly and we worried that other elephants might come," Parmin said.

Another villager, Ardi (34), said that the dead elephant had lost its two tusks.

The local inhabitants suspected that the elephant had been killed by unknown people.

"Yesterday, we heard three gun shots," he said.

Brilian, another resident, said four elephants had been spotted in local people`s rubber plantations over the past week, preventing the people from tapping the gum.

"We have tried to drive them away by setting cannon and fireworks, but they are still roaming around our rubber plantations," he said.

Petanni Village Head Riyanto said it would be very difficult to check the cause of the elephant`s death because its corpse had already rotten and was full of worms and flies.

Riyanto had reported the dead elephant find to the local police and Bengkalis nature resource conservation office (BKSDA).

He also asked the local authorities to be responsive to local people`s complaints on the wild elephants entering rubber plantations.

Head of the Bengkalis BKSDA Hutomo said he would investigated the death of the elephant as it was a protected animal.

The Sumatran elephant is the smallest of the Asian elephants. They can live to be 60-70 years old and grow to body height of up to 1.70-2.6 m. at the shoulder.

They usually weigh between 6,615 and 11,020 pounds! Due to deforestation and destruction of habitat, the Sumatran elephants have become endangered.

Landslide kills three in Sumatra

Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post, Padang, West Sumatra | Wed, 03/24/2010 2:23 PM |

Three people were killed and eight others injured after a landslide hit Saok Laweh, Solok regency, West Sumatra on Wednesday.

West Sumatra disaster management coordinator Ade Edward said the landslide occurred at 6:30 a.m., destroying three homes and an auto repair shop near Jl. Solok, just four kilometers from Muara Kalaban, Sawahlunto.

“This disaster is related to the behavior of the local people, who build homes near the ravine," he said.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Indonesia Trust Fund to Tackle Rampant Deforestation

Jakarta Globe, Fidelis E Satriastanti, March 23, 2010

A man walking across a destroyed forest in Pelalawan, Riau. (Antara Photo)

Indonesia is set to establish a new trust fund to reduce the rapid rate of deforestation in the country.

The National Forest Trust Fund will collect money from donor countries, especially developed ones, to finance conservation projects and promote sustainable forest management.

Indonesia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, losing almost two million hectares of forest every year.

Hadi Daryanto, director general of forest production at the Ministry of Forestry, said on Tuesday that the details of the fund were still being worked out between the government and potential donors.

He said officials were still considering whether to set up an endowment, where the money would be invested and the earnings spent, to spend the money directly or to establish a revolving fund.

The money, he added, would be managed by an independent organization, with the members of the board of trustees coming from local governments, academics, civil society and businesspeople.

Hadi said the government had already set up a trust fund in 2009 as a part of a debt-swap program with the US government under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act to save Sumatran forests.

“It’s basically a debt-swap program and only for Sumatra, but it’s going very well and has managed to collect around $3 million so far,” he said. “Now we want to establish one for all forest areas based on that experience.”

He said the move was also triggered by donors’ lack of faith in the climate change trust fund established by the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas).

On Sept. 14, 2009, the Indonesian Climate Change Trust Fund was launched to attract donor support for efforts to tackle climate change issues.

Basah Hernowo, the director of forestry and water resources conservation at Bappenas, said the ICCTF had a forest component so the two funds could possibly be merged.

“Basically, the forestry sector is much more ready [than other sectors], but it could confuse donors if there are too many trust funds,” Basah said.

In response to the reported lack of faith in the ICCTF, he said: “We only deal with the programs. The money will be managed by an independent organization and audited internationally, so don’t worry, we’re not taking the money for ourselves.”

Basah said the British government had committed 10 million pounds ($15 million) to the ICCTF and some of the money had already been allocated for climate change projects, which he predicted could get under way sometime in April.

Flooding worsens in Bekasi

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 03/23/2010 6:07 PM

Flooding that hit residential area along Citarum River banks in Bekasi regency, West Java, worsened Monday night due to damage at the river dam at Muara Gembong subdistrict.

Muara Gembong subdistrict head Herman Susilo said that around 4,698 houses were inundated by the overflow, up from 3,000 houses previously.

“The waterlevel inside each home has reached between 40 and 120 centimeters,” Herman told on Tuesday.

Floods submerge 2,674 buildings in Sarolangun

Antara News, Tuesday, March 23, 2010 14:50 WIB

Jambi (ANTARA News) - Floods inundated 2,674 buildings in Sarolangun district, Jambi Province, Sumatra Island, as the Batanghari River overflowed on Tuesday.

Houses, school buildings and mosques were flooded, said Aslami MZ of the Jambi administration, here on Tuesday. The flood also affected hundreds of hectares of rice fields and plantations, he said.Flood waters submerged houses at a height of up to 150 cm.

Floods triggered by incessant heavy rains, caused the Batanghari River`s tributaries, namely Batang Asai, Batang Limun, Batang Merangin, Batang Tembesi, and Batang Air Hitam to overflow since last Thursday (March 18) at a height of up to two meters.

At least 23 villages in six sub districts have been affected by the floods. The sub districts are Pauh, Mandiangin, Limun and Sarolangun town.

The worst-affected villages were Muaro Tempalo in Limun sub district and Mandiangin sub district, he said.At least 500 families have been evacuated to higher grounds.

The local authorities have set up emergency tents and distributed relief aid such as rice, instant noddles, blankets, baby food to flood victims.The natural disaster is estimated to have caused material losses of billions of rupiahs.

Floods inundate 7,000 houses in Bandung district

Antara News, Tuesday, March 23, 2010 14:46 WIB

Bandung (ANTARA News) - Floods inundated around 7,000 houses in the subdistricts of Baleendah, Dayeuhkolot and Bojongsoang, Bandung district, following the overflowing of the Citarum river on Tuesday.

Rice fields in Solokanjeruk and Rancaekek subdistricts, Bandung district, were also submerged by flood waters.

The flood waters in general were actually beginning to subside but they still stood high in Dayeuhkolot and Baleendah subdistricts, said Mudjiadi, a Bandung district administration official.

Most of the affected residents had abandoned their homes and evacuated to higher ground because of the floods which had been hitting the district over the past four days.

Local authorities have also set up public kitchens and distributed food, medicines, blankets and clothes to flood victims.