Is Indonesia the new Brazil? (In terms of reducing deforestation)

2 October 2014

Despite having a deforestation rate that now outpaces that of the Brazilian Amazon, Indonesia is beginning to undertake critical reforms necessary to curb destruction of its carbon-dense rainforests and peatlands, says a top Norwegian official.

Speaking with mongabay.com in Jakarta on Monday, Stig Traavik, Norway's ambassador to Indonesia, drew parallels between recent developments in Indonesia and initiatives launched in Brazil a decade ago, when deforestation was nearly five times higher than it is today.

"Fundamentally, I'm still optimistic. If you look at the trajectory in Indonesian and compare it with Brazil of ten years ago, there are similarities," Ambassador Traavik said. "Ten years ago, things looked pretty hopeless with deforestation impacting many places in the Amazon. But now Brazil has moved to a state where there is more solid enforcement, stronger land management rules, improved monitoring, and better engagement between a range of stakeholders. Indonesia has embarked on some of the same measures."

Those measures include a push to reform the bureaucracy that governs land use across the archipelago, improved forest monitoring systems, and stepped-up environmental law enforcement, including recent prosecutions of companies found to be illegally clearing protected forests and setting fires that drive polluting haze.

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