Indonesian moratorium extended, but peatlands remain threatened
Wetlands International warmly welcomes the extension of Indonesia’s moratorium on new forest concessions signed on the 13th May by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The extension, however, does not address the shortcomings of the previous moratorium.
The extension of the original moratorium, which halted the issuing of new concession licenses for Indonesia’s forests between May 2011 and May 2013, has been signed just in time to avoid a regulatory vacuum between both moratoria, which apply to carbon-rich areas, such as forests and peatlands. The extension will also be valid for a period of 2 years.
Wetlands International strongly welcomes this demonstration of the Government of Indonesia’s willingness to further protect its forests and peatlands from conversion. Nevertheless, it is disappointing that some major loopholes have remained unaddressed.
A specific issue in the case of peatlands is that many areas covered by the moratorium are already impacted by drainage of e.g. illegal logging channels or by drainage systems of adjacent existing concessions. Such areas should be prioritized for rehabilitation.
Wetlands International promotes the sustainable management of peat landscapes, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and halt peat soil subsidence. Subsidence results from the drainage of peatlands and can lead to flooding that over time will affect thousands of kilometres of coasts and lowland areas, impacting productivity of millions of hectares of land and their function as carbon stores. We are extending our expertise to Indonesia to contribute to the wise use and rehabilitation of peatlands, including through concession swaps, the introduction of non-drainage productive land-use options in peatlands (paludiculture) and adapted management of existing palm oil and pulp wood plantations.
On the 16th of May 2013, Wetlands International Indonesia and the Ministry of Environment of Indonesia are jointly organising a meeting with government, industry and NGO representatives to evaluate the 2011-2013 moratorium and provide recommendations and lessons learned for the implementation of the extended moratorium.