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)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Indonesia to Scrap Permits to Save Forests, Official Claims

Jakarta Globe, Sunanda Creagh, May 31, 2010

Smoke billows from a brush fire near the Bukit Tiga Puluh natural forest in Riau, Sumatra, last year. A government official said on Monday that Indonesia intends to act to save natural forests as part of a $1 billion climate change deal signed with Norway last week. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)

Indonesia will revoke existing forestry licences held by palm oil and timber firms to save natural forests under a $1 billion climate change deal signed with Norway last week, a government official said on Monday.

Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who announced the deal last week in Oslo, said new concessions for the conversion of natural forest and peatlands would be suspended for two years. But he did not say at the time how existing concessions would be affected.

Preserving forests is seen as crucial to slowing climate change because trees absorb enormous amounts of greenhouse gases.

Indonesia has huge tracts of tropical forests but a rapid deforestation rate. It has pledged to cut emissions by 2020 to 26 percent lower than the level if no action were taken or 41 percent lower if it is able to secure foreign funding and other assistance, like technology.

Part of the $1 billion promised by Norway will be spent on compensating businesses that have existing concessions cancelled in order to keep forests standing, said Agus Purnomo, head of the secretariat of Indonesia’s National Climate Change Council.

“When you revoke licences, when you cancel things, it involves money,” Purnomo said.

“It’s not that we will cancel all licences but 1/8only 3/8 if there is a need to do so” to keep primary forest intact, he said.

Compensation to permit holders could include cash, land swaps or other “amicable, workable and realistic solutions,” he said.

Palm oil firms such as Wilmar and Indofood Agri Resources have ambitious expansion plans in Indonesia, already the largest producer of an oil used to make products ranging from chocolate to soap.

Palm oil and pulp and paper firms are most likely to be affected, said Purnomo.

“But I am not ruling out any possibility. The spirit of the agreement was to save the remaining natural forest and peatland and we will do whatever humanly possibly to make it happen, within the legal context of Indonesia,” he said.

“If we have to go through cancellations in the court system, we will do it.” Permit holders will find out within six months if their concessions will be honoured, he said.

“Some of them don’t have a valid permit, they are just making a claim,” said Purnomo. “If they don’t have a valid permit, we are not going to compensate. If they are getting it through bribery, we are not going to give” compensation.


BI: 1.17 million ha of forests gone each year

Antara News, Monday, May 31, 2010 19:08 WIB

Gorontalo, N Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - The association of Indonesian wild bird preservation, better known as "Burung Indonesia" (BI), claimed that 1.17 million hectares of forests in Indonesia were gone each year.

Managing Director of Burung Indonesia Agus Budi Utomo said that the natural forests are the last defense of the biodiversity in Indonesia, but ironically the forests had become smaller and smaller because of the illegal logging activities of irresponsible people as well as their conversion of forested land into open fields for other purposes.

He said Monday that the rate of disappearance of forested land in Indonesia had reached 1.17 hectares per year, while in Gorontalo province the rate had reached 1,689.2 ha per year.

He said to overcome this, he tried to offer a solution of restoring the ecosystem which would not only raise productivity of forests and preserve biodiversity, but would also increase the economic value of forest resources for the welfare of the people.

In the future, restoration of the ecosystem will have an economic significance by way of the utilization of non forest products, environmental services, and the utilization of regions, Agus said.

Related Article:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Govt allocates rp273 b for Lapindo tourist site

Antara News, Saturday, May 29, 2010 02:26 WIB

Surabaya, E Java (ANTARA News) - The government has set aside Rp273 billion in funds to develop a geological tourist object near the Lapindo mudflow site in Sidoarjo district, East Java, an official said.

"The government through the maritime affairs and fisheries ministry has set aside Rp273 billion in funds to develop Lapindo geological tourist site," East Java Governor Soekarwo said here on Friday.

The 83-hectare geological tourist object would be located north of the mudflow site, he said adding: "President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the location some time ago."

"The DED (detailed engineering design) of the project will be available in 2011. The project is likely to be started this year," he said.

Asked to comment on the land subsidence around the mudflow site, he said there was nothing to worry about it.

"The land subsidence can be handled if new embankments are not built. The emergence of new mudflow spots and land subsidence results from the construction of new embankments which add to another burden," he said quoting geologists of the Surabaya-based Sepuluh November Institute of Technology (ITS) and Airlangga University (Unair).

To date, there were 180 thousand mudflow spots, including 30 thousand to 50 thousand new ones, he said.

The mudflow first began from a crack near an exploratory gas well owned by PT Lapindo Brantas on May 29, 2006. It soon expanded into a mud lake, swallowing houses, factories and schools, leaving more than 15,000 people homeless.

Related Articles:

Four years on, victims of Lapindo mudflow still in limbo

Indonesia mud volcano still spewing sludge four years later

Greenpeace hails SBY`s deforestation moratorium plan

Antara News, Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Greenpeace has hailed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s plan to declare a moratorium on deforestation that he expressed before the signing of an agreement between Indonesia and Norway on forest conservation worth US$1 billion in Oslo on Wednesday.

Greenpeace`s chief forest campaigner for Southeast Asia Bustar Maitar said in a press statement here on Friday that Greenpeace hailed the president`s moratorium plan.

"We hope the president upon his return to Indonesia would soon implement the moratorium and stop all peat land and forest conversions," Bustar said.

The governments of Indonesia and Norway signed in Oslo on Wednesday a Letter of Intent (LoI) on forest conservation worth US$1 billion as part of their joint commitment to overcoming climate change.

The LoI is part of the REDD-Plus scheme in which Norway will provide up to US$1 billion in grant for Indonesia to protect its forests.

It aims to build capacity needed to implement strategies for the the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

Yudhoyono expressed the moratorium commitment when he gave a press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, one day before the opening of the Forest and Climate Conference in Oslo.

Other Greenpeace activist Yuyun Indradi said meanwhile that Indonesia had to be able to measure how far the present deforestation had contributed to the emission level, not how far the damage it would cause to forest in the future.

Indradi said that Greenpeace was of the opinion that any agreement on deforestation should be designed in such away so that concrete steps to protect forest at the national level could be taken comprehensively, not on a sectoral and separate basis.

He said that the REDD funds should be aimed at protecting natural forests, including peat land, because protecting all this would have a big potential to reduce the green house gas emissions.

Related Articles:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Oil palm industry no threat to forest conservation: president

Antara News, Friday, May 28, 2010 00:22 WIB

Oslo (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhohyono said that the palm oil industry in Indonesia would not threaten Indonesia-Norway forest conservation agreement concluded under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme.

Speaking to the press after the opening of a forestry and climate Conference at Holmenkollen Park, Rica Hotel, here on Thursday the Indonesian president said that Indonesia had a special policy to synchronize the two matters.

"We already have our own plan to fulfill the obligation which has become our part in the cooperation between Indonesia and Norway in reducing our emissions from deforestation and forest degradation," the president said.

President Yudhoyono said that Indonesia would not stop its palm oil production, neither would it indiscriminately open up new forests for that purpose.

He said that Indonesia had taken a policy to use degraded land for the continuation of its oil palm industry.

The president said that Indonesia has identified specifically what had become its obligation in the forest conservation scheme with Norway, which among others included moratorium on the issuance of peat land cultivation permit, avoid deforestation and forest fires.

The governments of Indonesia and Norway signed here on Wednesday a letter of intent (LoI) on forest conservation worth US$1 billion as part of their joint commitment to overcoming climate change.

The letter was signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa and Norwegian Minister of Environmental and International Development Erik Solheim at the guest house of Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

The LoI is part of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus (REDD-Plus) scheme in which Norway will provide up to US$1 billion in grant for Indonesia to protect its forests.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Govt to involve local communities in Redd+ program

Antara News, Thursday, May 27, 2010 20:22 WIB

Oslo (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the government was committed to involving customary communities in the implementation of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) scheme.

"To manage the program, the government will involve all sides including communities living near forests," Yudhoyono said after the signing of a letter of intent (LoI) between Indonesia and Norway on forest conservation here on Wednesday.

The LoI was signed by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and Norwegian Minister of Environment and International Development Erik Solheim at the guest house of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

The LoI is part of the REDD+ scheme in which Norway will provide up to US$1 billion in grants to Indonesia to protect its forests.

By involving all sides in the REDD+ scheme it would become a public movement, Yudhoyono said.

"By doing so, it will be fair for all sides, particularly those living near forests," he said.

To carry out the REDD+ program the government would set up a special body responsible to the president, he said.

The body would coordinate efforts to develop and carry out REDD+ related activities besides receiving funds from donor countries, he said.

It would also coordinate efforts made by Indonesia at national, regional and local levels, he said.

In view of the REDD+ program`s importance, the body would consist of representatives of the central and regional governments, civil society and local communities, he said.

Indonesia has set itself the target of reducing greenhouse emissions by 26 percent in 2020.

REDD+ refers to efforts to establish a global scheme to reduce greenhouse emissions by preventing deforestation and degradation, and enhancing forest-based carbon stocks.

RI committed to rainforests protection despite financial constraints

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Oslo | Thu, 05/27/2010 4:06 PM

Climate talks: Indonesian President Susilo Yudhoyono (left) and Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg speak at press conference during the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference in Oslo, Norway, Thursday. The conference was attended by 50 heads of state and environment ministers. –AP/Hakon Mosvold Larsen

Cash-strapped Indonesia remains committed to protection of its rainforests as part of the global initiative to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) Plus scheme, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says.

"Working with our developed country partners, we will protect Indonesia’s globally significant carbon- and biodiversity-rich tropical rainforests while helping local populations become more prosperous," Yudhoyono said Thursday in a speech during the opening session of the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference at Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica in the surrounding hills of Oslo.

The President's statement affirmed his pledge on Wednesday night that Indonesia "would conduct a moratorium for two years where we stop the conversion of peat land and of forests" during a historical agreement signing with Norway, which provides a US$1 billion grant for Indonesia in phases to protect the Southeast Asian nation's forests.

Yudhoyono also said Indonesia would preserve its forests "with or without international help".

But having financial limitations, Yudhoyono expected the REDD Plus scheme to be pushed forward.

"Cancun (meeting in Mexico) must produce a robust and workable decision. In this regard, a decision on REDD Plus could bring about the immediate action that we need to take," he said in the speech.

Indonesia still has a 14.15 percent poverty rate of about 230 million people in population, based on latest data released by the Central Statistics Agency.

In Indonesia, forest areas of a size equaling 300 soccer fields vanish every hour, according to Greenpeace.

Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said based on a March's international conference in Paris about 54 countries agreed to provide $4 billion in commitment to take necessary actions to protect the world's largest rainforests located in Brazil and Indonesia, which function as global "lungs" to transform carbon dioxide into oxygen.

"In today's market forests are more worth dead than alive. We want to change that ... There will be more (incentives) in leaving (them) than cut," he said.

He added that all developing countries should be in the driver's seat to reach the global goals with the help of multilateral institutions like the United Nations and the World Bank.

In his speech at the same forum, Britain’s Prince Charles said the time available to turn the words into actions was "running out". He also praised the agreement signed by Indonesia and Norway.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said he would look forward to a successful outcome in the next meeting in Cancun.

Related Articles:

Govt to involve local communities in Redd+ program

New agency to curb deforestation ready by December

Indonesia sends team to Brazil for Redd+ program

Saving forests to maintain biodiversity

Indonesia, Norway to Sign $1b Forestry Deal

Indonesia Agrees to 2-Year Freeze on Forest Concessions in $1b Deal

President: Indonesia serious about managing its forests

New agency to curb deforestation ready by December

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Oslo | Thu, 05/27/2010 2:21 PM

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto

Indonesia will immediately set up an agency similar to the now-defunct Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) as part of a bilateral agreement with Norway, which provides US$1 billion in grants to help Indonesia reduce deforestation.

"[The agency] should be established before December [this year]," former BRR head Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, now head of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control, said Wednesday evening in Oslo.

Earlier in the day, Indonesia and Norway signed a letter of intent (LOI) to reduce deforestation in Indonesia, where forest areas of a size equaling 300 soccer fields vanish every hour according to Greenpeace.

The LOI includes three major points: Capacity building in which Indonesia needs to set up an agency to monitor the reduction of deforestation; pilot projects in which Indonesia and Norway will choose which forests will receive first priority; and result assessment.

Norway will fully disburse the grant only if the result lives up to expectations. "We pay for the results, it is quite simple,” said Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg during the signing.

Kuntoro, the top candidate to lead the new agency, said a BRR-like agency could ensure such programs worked well. "Most important is that the [agency] head's ability to directly report to the President is equal to a minister's, to ensure any decision can be made at the highest level," he said.

The BRR, which oversaw funds to rehabilitate Nias and Aceh post-earthquake in 2004, is considered a solid performing agency in which corruption could be prevented.

"We heard [during the signing] a stressing on the monitoring system. What we need to underline is trust. The person who wants to help must be given the high trust that his aid is used as designated. Such a monitoring system has been introduced to our government system by using GIS-based mapping, in which all physical projects used a coordinate as a basis," explained Kuntoro.

The GIS stands for geographical information system, a system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages and presents data that is linked to locations. It is used in cartography, remote sensing, land surveying, photogrammetry, geography, urban planning, emergency management, navigation and localized search engines.

Kuntoro said the BRR followed the GIS system, which had been adopted by the government since 2004.

He added that Indonesia would learn from Brazil in implementing the system in supervising carbon emissions. Brazil has also received a grant from Norway to reduce emissions.

Kuntoro was confident Indonesia could establish the agency within six months. "I think we need to issue regulations and fund management," he said.

President: Indonesia serious about managing its forests

Antara News, Thursday, May 27, 2010 03:51 WIB

Oslo (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Indonesia is serious about conserving its forests to contribute to the balance of the environment and climate.

Speaking to the press aboard an Oslo-bound presidential plane on Wednesday, he said the seriousness was reflected by concrete action rather than a mere slogan or plan to maintain the area of the country`s forests.

"Therefore, I hope the central and regional governments will be fully responsible for encouraging the public to take part in ensuring the success of the endeavour. As such, we will be respected by the world community when they help us," he said.

He said developed nations had been committed to providing funds to tropical forest countries struggling to maintain their forests believed to contribute to nature conservation and balance.

"Indonesia has the chance to get contributions from the international community, particularly developed nations under a fund sharing scheme. I prefer to use the term "sharing" and "assistance" because Indonesia is really able to maintain its tropical forests, meaning that we maintain the lungs of the world. It is not merely Indonesia but also the rest of the world which will enjoy the fruit. Therefore, it will be fair if Indonesia uses its resources and budget not only for the environment or forests but also for the people`s welfare," he said.

Given the commitment, Indonesia must prove that its forest conservation efforts were not a mere slogan or plan, he said.

"Now that the developed nations want to contribute to forest conservation efforts by providing grants and not loans we must convince them that we not only have commitment and plan but also are determined to implement what Indonesia and donor countries have agreed upon," he said.

For its part, the head of state called on all domestic elements including the central government, regional governments, the community and the private sector to prove the commitment which would in the end improve the local people`s living standard.

"We build good political tradition that Indonesia is a consistent nation, state and government. Once again whether or not we are assisted, we are obliged to conserve the environment as good as possible," he said.

Yudhoyono arrived here at 07.00 a.m. on Wednesday for a four-day visit during which he will attend an international conference on climate change and forests.

During his stay, the Indonesian leader is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at 03.00 p.m. to discuss the signing of a letter of intent in the field of forestry cooperation between the two countries.

The cooperation will be the first with Norway in the field of forestry based upon the principles of mutual benefit.

Yudhoyono will attend the conference at the invitation of Prime Minister Stoltenberg with whom he will co-chair the forum.

Representatives from 40 countries will attend the conference including the leaders of Denmark, Guyana and Gabon.

The conference will aim to facilitate voluntary partnerships between advanced and developing countries that have tropical forests with regard to the implementation of the mechanism for reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD+).

The meeting is expected to be able to produce an agreement regarding the REDD+ mechanism for immediate implementation.

Related Articles:

Indonesia Agrees to 2-Year Freeze on Forest Concessions in $1b Deal

Indonesia sends team to Brazil for Redd+ program

Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran top world disaster risk rankings


PARIS — Bangladesh, Indonesia and Iran are the countries that are the most vulnerable to natural disasters, according to a study released on Thursday.

Asia's twin giants, China and India, join them in the 15 countries that, out of 229, are rated as "extreme" risk.

The Natural Disasters Risk Index (NDRI) is compiled by a British risk advisory firm, Maplecroft, on the basis of disasters that occurred from 1980 to 2010.

It draws on a basket of indicators, including the number and frequency of these events, the total deaths that were caused and the death toll as a proportion of the country's population.

Disasters include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, storms, flooding, drought, landslides, heatwaves and epidemics.

"Poverty is an important factor in countries where both the frequency and impacts of natural disasters are severe," said Maplecroft's environmental analyst, Anna Moss.

"Poor infrastructure, plus dense overcrowding in high-risk areas like flood plains, river banks, steep slopes and reclaimed land, continually result in high casualty figures."

According to the NDRI's figures, Bangladesh has suffered more than 191,000 fatalities as a result of natural disasters in the past 30 years, and Indonesia a nearly equal number, the vast majority of which were inflicted by the December 2004 tsunami.

In Iran, the big vulnerability factor is earthquakes, which claimed 74,000 lives over this period.

India, ranked 11th, lost 141,000 lives -- including 50,000 to earthquakes, 40,000 to floods, 15,000 to epidemics and 23,000 to storms -- while the tally in China, rated 12th, was 148,000 lives, of which 87,000 were lost in the 2008 Sichuan quake.

Three G8 countries are considered "high risk," the next category down from "extreme."

They are France (17th in the overall rankings) and Italy (18th), which were hit by killer heatwaves in 2003 and 2006, and the United States (37th), whacked by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The countries least at risk are Andorra, Bahrain, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Qatar, San Marino and the United Arab Emirates.

Moss pointed to experts' warnings of the impact of climate change on rainfall. Disruption of weather patterns is predicted to lead to more frequent and bigger episodes of drought and flood.

"Our research highlights the need for even the wealthiest countries to focus on disaster risk reduction," she said.

Related Article:

Indonesia Ranks as Second-Riskiest Place in World for Natural Disasters

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bottled water firms should be held responsible: Wahli

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Malang, East Java | Wed, 05/26/2010 10:31 AM | The Archipelago

Deforestation on the slopes of Mt. Arjuna in Pasuruan regency has reached alarming levels and private companies benefiting from its natural resources need to take responsibility, says the Each Java branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi).

Purnawan Dwikora Negara, a Wahli coordinator in East Java, said that deforestation posed dangers to people living around the forest.

Data shows that of the 15,600 hectares of protected forest area, about 3,400 hectares are damaged and categorized as critical, in addition to another 402 hectares that were burned in 2009.

“What makes it alarming is the damaged forest has functioned as a water catchment area that supplies springs and underground water reserves,” Purnawan said recently, adding that reforestation efforts by plating trees must be urgently pursued.

Private companies, such as bottled water companies, have also benefited from the springs and must be held responsible and pay compensation to the community, he said.

There are 14 bottled water companies operating at Mt. Arjuna, including PT Tirta Investama, with its product Danone Aqua. The company has been granted a concession that allows it to take water at a rate of 50 liters per second from the Pandaan water spring.

Around 1,500 truck tanks, each holding a capacity of 5,000 liters, carry water from the water springs in Mt. Arjuna to be sold to Surabaya, Sidoarjo, and Pasuruan.

While exploiting the water resources, the companies have criticized for their lack of environmental conservation. Several companies have implemented corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, but groups such as Wahli say the results have been minimal so far.

For Walhi, companies should be obliged to allocate 60 percent of its revenue for reforestation.

“Take it as an environmental fee because they get everything for free,” Purnawan said.

However, the CSR manager for Danone Aqua in the East Java region, Arief Fatullah, denied suggestions his company was not giving back. He said they planted 30,000 seedlings from 2008-2009, which would be followed by another 50,000 this year.

“We are also implementing foster forest programs in a total area of 72 hectares. That’s part of the Arjuna Mountain forest conservation,” Arief said.

He said the company had spent Rp 2 billion on its CSR program in East Java, but Purnawan said the sum was not comparable to the company’s huge revenue.

Saving forests to maintain biodiversity

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 05/25/2010 10:03 AM

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said his office would restore 300,000 hectares of damaged forest per year to maintain biodiversity, which has come under serious threat from deforestation and development.

Minister Zulkifli has issued permits to restore 200,000 hectares of damaged forest in Sumatra and East Kalimantan this year.

“We will also focus on enforcing the law on the illegal trade of species or illicit forest conversion in protected and conservation areas,” he told reporters at celebrations of the International Year of Biodiversity in Jakarta on Monday.

“We hope the huge restoration program can revitalize the previous function of the forest and preserve its biodiversity,” he said.

He said the ministry would prioritize increasing the population of endangered species over the next four years.

“We admit the threats of biodiversity loss are still very high due to among others, economic development, deforestation and forest degradation,” he said.

He said the restoration in Sumatra could protect falling numbers of Sumatran tigers, elephants, orangutans and rhinoceroses.

The three-day celebration of the International Biodiversity Year was jointly organized by the Forestry Ministry and a German-based organization, GTZ.

The minister also launched a national action plan for protected areas, which will be used as a basis for conservation management to promote sustainable development in the country.

The document was drafted by the government and a group of NGOs including WWF Indonesia, Burung Indonesia, Flora Fauna Indonesia, the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International.

The action plan is also aimed at meeting the government’s commitment under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to allocate protected areas both in terrestrial and maritime areas.

The government plans to establish some 10 million hectares of protected marine area in 2010 and 20 million hectares in 2020.

The action plan highlights that Indonesia has 500 protected areas with a total 36 million hectares,

in both terrestrial and marine areas.

The document outlines actions needed to protect biodiversity, including monitoring systems, capacity building and the management of conservation areas.

Indonesia has 12 percent (515 species) of the world’s mammals, the second-highest level after Brazil, and 17 percent (1,531 species) of the total species of birds, the fifth-highest number in the world.

The country is also home to 15 percent (270 species) of amphibians and reptiles, 31,746 species of vascular plants and 37 percent of the world’s species of fish.

The director general of forest protection and nature conservation Darori, said the financial value of biodiversity could be higher than the price of wood products.

He said the government would promote breeding systems to increase populations of species that could be traded under international agreements.

“A number of countries such as China and Taiwan plan to import up to 1 million geckos per year, but we can only provide 100,000. So the demand is still high,” he said.

A scientist at the Nature Conservancy, Wahjudi Wardoyo, said the government needed to apply “development by design” to protect biodiversity.

“Economic development should continue but it must be designed with biodiversity in mind,” said Wahjudi, a former director general of forest protection and nature conservation.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Indonesia, Norway to Sign $1b Forestry Deal

Jakarta Globe, Camelia Pasandaran& Fidelis E Satriastanti, May 24, 2010

Indonesia and Norway are expected to sign a $1 billion agreement on the forestry sector at a two-day meeting in Oslo this week, a senior Indonesian official said on Monday.

The Oslo Climate and Forest Conference, to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, is expected to be attended by at least 10 heads of states from countries with rain forests.

The conference aims to come up with a nonbinding framework on the UN-backed carbon trading mechanism known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The framework will be called REDD-plus Partnerships.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will co-chair the Oslo meeting.

“The Oslo meeting is a very important step in realizing all the promises that have been made by [developed countries] and to sort out how the financing will be determined,” said Liana Bratasida, the environment minister’s assistant for global environmental affairs and international cooperation.

Liana said $3.5 billion in funding had been promised to rain- forest countries by Norway, Australia, France, Japan, the United States and the European Union.

She also said the REDD-plus Partnerships that were expected to be launched at the meeting in Oslo would represent a major breakthrough in climate change negotiations.

“If this can move forward then it might push other negotiations to move forward also,” Liana said of the new framework.

Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said the Oslo meeting would benefit Indonesia because Norway’s promised funding would boost optimism that the country could reach its emission cuts targets.

Indonesia last year made a voluntary pledge to cut its emissions by 26 percent by 2020 and by up to 41 percent if assisted with international funding.

“If we get the funding from Norway, we will channel it for activities on peatland areas, considering that these areas have a bigger impact [in the release of more carbon dioxide],” Gusti said.

The discussions at the conference will include involving governors with peatland areas.
Meanwhile, Dino Patti Djalal, Yudhoyono’s spokesman for international affairs, said they expected pledges on the REDD-plus Partnerships would be increased to $5 billion.

“This funding mechanism, what we call interim REDD-plus Partnerships, will effectively and efficiently coordinate the implementation of the forest and climate change program,” the spokesman said.

Dino said the partnerships would be replaced if the climate change negotiations reached an official agreement on an international mechanism related to REDD-plus.

Yudhoyono will also meet the Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg to discuss bilateral relations and sign a letter of intent concerning cooperation in forestry issues.

Dino declined to provide more details of the agreement.

Monday, May 24, 2010

President to attend climate change and forest conference in Oslo

Antara News, Monday, May 24, 2010 19:59 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to attend an international conference on climate change and forests in Oslo, Norway, on May 26-27, presidential spokesman Dino Pati Djalal said.

The president would leave for the conference upon an invitation from Norway`s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg.

"During the conference attended by 40 delegates representing 50 countries, President Yudhoyono will act as co-chair accompanying Prime Minister Stoltenberg as the host of the conference," Dino said here on Monday adding that some country leaders already confirmed their attendance were from Denmark, Guyana and Gabon.

The spokesman said the conference would specifically discuss about the mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries or famously known as REDD+ program.

"The conference aims to facilitate a voluntarily partnership between advanced and developing countries owning tropical forest area to realize REDD program by providing a US$4-5 billion funding to support the activity," Dino said adding that the meeting was expected to issue a detailed agreement about the mechanism and implementation of REDD+ program.

The meeting in Oslo was a follow up to the previous meeting held in Paris last March, said Dino.

"Though included in the Copenhagen Accord last 2009, REDD+ program is not yet implemented. Therefore, the Oslo meeting is aimed to boost the process in UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)," he said adding that reducing deforestation was important because it contributes one fifth of total greenhouse emission in the world.

During the meeting, President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Stoltenberg are also scheduled to sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) on forestry sector.

The president will leave for Oslo on Tuesday evening and return to Jakarta next May 28.

Ten Month Old Leopard Takes Center Stage at Forestry Ministry

Jakarta Globe, Fidelis E. Satriastanti, May 24, 2010

Sinto, the Javan leopard from Taman Safari Indonesia enjoys the attention at the Ministry of Forestry (Photo Fidelis Satriastanti /JG)

Sinto, a 10-month-old male leopard from Taman Safari Indonesia became the main attraction at the Ministry of Forestry office. His presence was part of a biodiversity exhibition at the ministry.

Sinto is a Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas), a subspecies of leopard. Leopards are the smallest of the big cats in the genus Panthera. Sinto weighs 15 kg but when he has reached full maturity he will weigh about 25 kg.

Sinto was not shy away from the cameras and he even let people rub his fur. He did not show his claws, only his teeth. Although he seemed tame, his keeper kept him on a chain leash.

Irawan from Taman Safari Indonesia said Sinto is used to humans because he was separated from his mother when he was born.

“His mother rejected him. She did not want to take care of him,” Irawan said.

The biodiversity exhibition is held from May 24 to May 26, 2010.

Komodo dragon attacks man in Indonesia: police, 2010-05-24 17:19

KUPANG, May 24 (AFP) - A komodo dragon attacked an Indonesian man as he ate lunch at a building site on one of the giant lizards' protected island habitats, police said Monday.

Construction worker Agustinus Jenaru, 20, was having a meal break when the powerful monitor, apparently attracted by the smell of food, crept up from behind and bit him on the arm, police official Mega Laksana Putra said.

"The man screamed for help. He put up a struggle and managed to free himself," Putra said.

There are no medical facilities on Rinca, a komodo sanctuary in eastern Indonesia, so Jenaru was flown to hospital on Bali island, he said.

Until recently komodos were believed to hunt with a "bite and wait" strategy using toxic bacteria in their saliva to weaken or kill their prey, before descending in numbers to feast.

But in 2005 researchers found that dragons' jaws are armed with highly sophisticated poison glands that can cause paralysis, spasms and shock through haemorrhaging.

The world's largest monitor lizard, komodos can grow up to three metres (10 feet) and weigh up to 140 kilograms (310 pounds). They are unique to a small group of islands in eastern Indonesia.

Jenaru hit the jaws of the giant lizard for several seconds until it freed him (

Related Article:

Builder fends off Komodo dragon by punching it in nose

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bali to host workshop on Orangutan conservation

Antara News, Saturday, May 22, 2010 13:31 WIB

Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) - An international workshop on orangutan conservation will be conducted in the resort island of Bali from July 15-16, 2010.

The workshop will be organized by the Forestry Ministry`s directorate general of natural conservation and forest protection in cooperation with the Indonesian Orangutan Forum.

Spokesman of Trisakti University`s Orangutan Conservation Service Program, Jamartin Sihite said here on Saturday that the workshop would be conducted as part of similar activities in the past to save the orangutan from extinction.

"We are going to conduct the International Workshop on Orangutan Conservation in our bid to save the protected species from the danger of extinction," Jamartin said.

At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali in 2007, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced a major initiative to save the nation`s orangutans.

A new study said orangutan numbers had declined sharply and were feared to become the first great ape species to go extinct if urgent action was not immediately taken.

Serge Wich, a scientist at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa, said the declines in the orangutan populations in Indonesia and Malaysia since 2004 were mostly because of illegal logging and the expansion of palm oil plantations.

The survey found the orangutan population on Indonesia`s Sumatra island had dropped almost 14 percent since 2004, Wich said.

It also concluded that the orangutan population on Borneo island, which was shared by Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, had fallen by 10 percent.

In their study, Wich and his 15 colleagues said the declines in Borneo were occurring at an "alarming rate" but that they were most concerned about Sumatra, where the numbers show the population was in "rapid decline."

"Unless extraordinary efforts are made soon, the orangutan could become the first great ape species to go extinct," researchers wrote.

Indonesia and Malaysia, the world`s top two palm oil producers, have aggressively pushed to expand plantations amid a rising demand for biofuels which are considered cleaner and cheaper than petrol.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Violations of forest permits cause losses of Rp 1,000t to state

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 05/20/2010 10:41 AM

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is investigating alleged violations of forest permits that have reportedly cost the state more than Rp 1,000 trillion (US$110 billion).

KPK deputy chairman Mohammad Jasin said in Jakarta on Wednesday the violations ranged from the misuse of forest permits for other activities such as logging, to conducting mining operations in forest areas without proper licenses from the Forestry Ministry.

Jasin said the anticorruption agency had found indications that many plantation companies paid bribes to local administration officials to enable them to carry out illegal practices, such as using forest areas for other purposes.

“Many companies that received permits to use forest areas for plantations did not carry out their plantation activities. They only took the wood and left,” he said.

Jasin said that as many as 470 coal mining permit holders were also involved in the destruction of forest areas because they carried out mining operations without proper licenses.

According to the forestry law, a mining company is required to obtain a license from the Forestry Ministry to carry out mining activities in forest areas even if the areas are located in their concessions.

Jasin also said that many forest concession holders avoided their tax payments.

The findings indicated that about one-third of the 2.3 million hectares of forest areas granted to be use as plantations were not used in accordance with the permits.

He said that 79 forest concession holders in Riau were found to have violated their permits. The companies, for example, carried out logging activities but left the area without conducting rehabilitation programs such as replanting the areas as required by the regulation, he said.

“It shows that these forest concession holders only want the wood from our forests and these kinds of activities violated their permits,” Jasin said.

The findings from the KPK investigation, which is expected to be finished by the end of this year, also indicate the weakness of forestry regulations and systems and the lack of the credibility on the part of the forestry and local government officials involved in the supervision of the forests.

“For example, the commission found that a one forest concession area overlapped with another because the officials in charge issued the permit without a prior survey,” he said.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan says he supports the KPK’s allegations on the misuse of forest permits.

Zulkifli said that 6.7 million hectares of peat areas, which had already been granted licenses for oil palm plantations had been abandoned.

“So it is no longer necessary to issue new permits,” he said.

According to the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki) secretary general Joko Supriyono, the ministry’s decision was regrettable.

He said the government should not punish the industry by not issuing new permits just because some businesspeople failed to follow regulations.

“They should resolve the problems with the business people who violate their permits without dragging the rest of us into it,” he said.

“If we cannot get new permits, it will affect the growth of palm oil plantations in the country.” (rch)