The Forest Scribe

BPS: Indonesia Lost 1.40% of its Forest in 2014-2018

Indonesian forest
Photograph by Jason Houston for USAID

A report issued by the Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) issued at the end of 2019, showed that Indonesia lost 1.40 percent of its forest coverage in the five years up to and including 2018, leaving the country’s forests at 93,483,291 hectares by the end of last year.

“The forest coverage that was lost in Indonesia during the period of 2014 up to and including 2018, was at around 1.40 percent, or 2,685,012 hectares within that five-year period,” said the conclusion of the report, titled the Integrated System of Environmental-Economic Accounts of Indonesia 2014-2018.

It puts the total forest coverage in Indonesia in 2018 at 93,483,291 hectares, with Papua, Kalimantan and Sumatra holding most of the forests.

The report, that in the words of BPS Chairman Suhariyanto was aimed at providing “an overview of the impact of development on the role of natural resources in economic activities,” said that a reduction in forest area took place in almost all islands of Indonesia.

The highest forest reduction took place in Sumatra where 1,122,684 hectares of forest were lost in the five-year period, followed by Kalimantan which lost 870,273 hectares in the same period.

In the report BPS said that the dwindling forest coverage could be the result of natural evens, logging of forests, fires or a reclassification.

“In the 2014-2018 period, the forest coverage that underwent a reduction were land cover in the form of secondary dry forest areas, bushes, swamp bushes, secondary swamp forests and open land plots,” the report said, Meanwhile, increases were recorded during the same period in the surface of plantation, primary dry forests, settlement, fish ponds, dry agricultural land mixed with bushes, and mining land.

BPS said that although forests are renewable natural resources, their usage and management should still consider the stability and sustainability of the ecosystems. A management that has an environmental outlook will be able to guarantee the continuing functions and roles of forest resources in the long run.

“The rising volume of physical damage and reclassification, as well as the logging of jungle forests outside of Java during the 2014-2018 period, which was not offset by an increase in  growth volume and reclassification (reforestation and planting) need to receive government attention considering that Indonesia’s timber production is mostly coming from outside of Java, especially from production forest areas located near the territory of other countries and which are prone to illegal logging activities,” the report said.

BPS also stressed that there was also a reduction in the physical volume of logging and damage to forests, as well as wood reclassification in Java and added that this showed that there was already a good forest management capable of making use of the forests in a sustainable way, although logging, damages to forests and wood reclassification were also continuing.

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