|Because of their potential for storing
carbon, Indonesia's wetlands -- which include mangroves and freshwater
peat forests -- are integral in the fight against climate change, experts
say. Unless Indonesia preserves its 7.41 million acres of mangrove forests
-- representing 23 percent of the world's total -- the country's climate
change mitigation programs would be pointless, said Daniel Murdiyarso,
a senior researcher from the Center for International Forestry Research
at the organization's conference Monday in Sanur, Bali, the Jakarta Post
Mangroves should have adequate protection,
Murdiyarso said, calling for Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
to keep his pledge for Indonesia to change its status from "a net emitter"
to "a net sink" for carbon by 2030. The rate of deforestation for Indonesia's
mangrove forests now stands at approximately 7 percent a year.
Jakarta has pledged to reduce the country's
emissions by 26 percent on its own and by 42 percent with international
climate aid. But Indonesia now ranks as the fifth largest carbon emitter
in the world, with deforestation and forest degradation accounting for
more than 80 percent of its emissions.
"It is a fact that wetlands store a lot of carbon that has the potential
to be lost to the atmosphere more rapidly than any other tropical forest
type" when cleared by typical burning procedures, said Matthew Warren,
a researcher from the U.S. Forest Service "Do not allow them to be drained
and burnt because that will release carbon," Warren said.
A report released by Greenpeace last week
said management consultancy McKinsey & Co has suggested strategies
to Indonesia and other nations that could help them proceed with logging
practices while still generating revenue from the United Nations Reducing
Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, or REDD, and REDD+ schemes.
The Greenpeace report said McKinsey's approach
offers an incentive to governments to artificially increase predicted deforestation
rates so that later reductions could secure more compensation. Also,
in its "REDD Alert: Protection Money" report released last November, Greenpeace
said that because of vague definitions, continued clearance of forest could
be allowed in Indonesia under the guise of rehabilitation of degraded forest
areas. Greenpeace said documents from the
forestry, agriculture and energy departments in Jakarta reveal plans for
expansion in the pulp, palm, agriculture, biofuel and coal sectors that
could bring an additional 156 million acres of land into use by 2030. After
Brazil, Indonesia has the second-highest deforestation rate in the world.