Tuesday, December 1, 2015


 Jakarta, Dec 1, 2015 (Antara)- Indonesia is known as the lung of the world for having the world's largest forest area after Brazil and Congo.
         However, due to its dwindling forest area, the government has set a target to plant billions of trees to rehabilitate the forest area and re-green the country's arid regions.
         The massive tree-planting movement is also part of the country's efforts to fulfill its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent from projected levels in 2030.   
    The government has claimed that over the past five years, the Indonesian public has planted 7.3 billion trees.
        However, of the total 190 million hectares, the country still has 24.3 million hectares of arid area.
         President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) led a function to celebrate Indonesia's Tree Planting Day and Tree Planting Month at the Sultan Adam People Forest Park (Tahura) in Banjar, South Kalimantan, on November 26, 2015, by planting a three-meter-high gaharu tree (gyrinops versteegii).

          As part of this activity, the president planted the 2000th tree.
          During the tree-planting activity, President Jokowi was accompanied by First Lady Iriana and Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya. Hundreds of school children were involved in the event.
         After planting a tree, President Jokowi moved to another part of the Tahura (park), which is spread over two hectares and has various kinds of trees planted in an effort to support reforestation.
        The president even walked about 500 meters up the hill to meet the TNI (military and police) personnel who were ready to plant trees there.
          Jokowi called on Indonesians to rehabilitate the forests and carry forward the momentum of the Tree Planting Day and the National Flora and Fauna Day to improve the country's environment.
       "We need to conserve the flora and fauna to maintain the country's biodiversity and its function as the lungs of the world," the president emphasized.
       As many as ten thousand trees of various kinds would be planted in a 10-hectare plot of land at the Sultan Adam Tahura, which was recently destroyed by fires when the country was hit by the El Nino-induced drought.
       "A total of eight thousand trees have been planted, and today, two thousand more trees are being planted," Environmental and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya noted.
       "The planting activity is aimed at restoring trees and the forest areas burnt down due to the recent fires, so that the ecosystem can be restored," she emphasized.
       Minister Nurbaya disclosed a plan to make it obligatory for all prospective brides and grooms to plant five trees each before they get married.
       She believed that this initiative, to be carried out in cooperation with the Religious Affairs Ministry, will support the government's target to rehabilitate 5.5 million hectares of forest and arid areas.
       "The Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry has set a target to rehabilitate 5.5 million hectares of forest and arid areas, but the budget can only cover 200 thousand hectares per year. Therefore, we will establish cooperation with various parties, including with the Religious Affairs Ministry," Minister Nurbaya remarked.
       The ministry will also collaborate with private- and state-owned companies to achieve the target in accordance with the 2015-2019 National Mid Term Development Plan.
       The minister said her office had also established cooperation with the Education and Culture Ministry and the Research, Technology and Higher Education Ministry to make it mandatory for every student from elementary school to university level to plant five trees.
       Hilman Nugroho, the director general for control of river basin and protected forest areas of the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry, stated that the government had provided saplings of various varieties of local trees to meet this objective.
        Sengon trees are considered to be suitable for Java Island, while for West Kalimantan, tengkawang trees are more conducive.
       The government has also provided various tree saplings to the public, of which 70 percent are of trees grown for wood, and 30 percent are fruit-bearing trees.
       Speaking in connection with the condition imposed on future brides and grooms, Nugroho clarified that the office of Religious Affairs will issue a marriage certificate only after the couples have submitted pictures as proof of having planted five trees each.
       The practice of planting trees by prospective brides and grooms is not new in some regions in Indonesia, although it is not mandated nationally.
       In Kendal District, Central Java Province, the local authorities, for instance, have implemented a policy in cooperation with other institutions, such as the forestry office and the religious affairs office since 2012 that makes the tree-planting program compulsory.
       Since 2007, the policy has also been implemented in Polewali Mandar, West Sulawesi Province, and Medan, North Sumatra Province.
       The policy to necessitate tree planting before being granted a marriage certificate has also been implemented in Jepara, Central Java, since 2009; in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, since 2014; and in Gowa, South Sulawesi.

(T.F001/A/BESSR/F. Assegaf) 01-12-2015 15:30:10

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