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Deforestation in Indonesia - Research Paper Example

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An Assessment on the Deforestation in Indonesia Introduction On December 2004, the world was shocked by a great undersea quake into the coastal areas of Sumatra, Indonesia. The killer quake spread its massive waves into the coastal communities across south and east Asia (BBC News, 2011)…
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Download file to see previous pages The 52-second tremor left 5, 700 lives and damaged an estimated amount or US3.1 billion (Leitmann, 2007). These are just some of the examples from the growing list of disasters in Indonesia. At first glance, these disasters can be considered to be brought about by natural calamities, natural catastrophes that could be beyond anybody’s control. Taking a closer look however on Indonesia’s environmental policies, many issues can be clarified and a lot of questions can be answered. This paper delves on the environmental condition including the policies of Indonesia with specific focus on deforestation. Country profile Republic of Indonesia is an archipelagic country in the South East Asian region with the land area of 1.9 million sq km (BBC News, 2011). Indonesia’s terrain is mainly coastal lowlands and its larger islands have interior mountains (Central Intelligence Agency, 2011). Indonesia is highly diverse ethnicity with more than 300 local languages (BBC News, 2011). As of this year, Indonesia has a recorded population of more than 245 million. According to the data of Central Intelligence Agency, it has an urban population of 44 percent as of year 2010 and the rate of urbanization goes at 1.5 percent rate of change for the year 2010-2011. Indonesia is endowed with rich natural resources such as petroleum, gold, silver, coal, natural gas, nickel, and copper among others. Most of its land area is also arable and fertile soil. On the other hand, Indonesia is also home for the most volcanoes in the world, some 76 are historically active (Central Intelligence Agency, 2011). In spite of being a highly agricultural country, only 16. 5 percent (Central Intelligence Agency, 2011) of Indonesia’s labor force is in the agricultural sector. The industrial sector dominates the labor force with 46.4 percent (Central Intelligence Agency, 2011) followed by services with 37.1 percent (Central Intelligence Agency, 2011). This set-up of the labor force can be traced back during the 1970s when Indonesia started the development of its wood-processing industries maximizing its forests that comprise 84 percent of its total land area. From then on, Indonesia’s production capacity of pulp and paper industries has increased immensely by almost 700 percent, thus, it is now one of the world’s largest pulp and paper producer. Forest-related industry in Indonesia was further expanded in the decades of 1980s and 1990s by the government. However, these expansions went underway without any sustainable forest management system thus resulted to the acceleration of forest loss in the country. Status of deforestation Deforestation from a layman’s point of view is simply an act of cutting down trees in forest and rain forests. Usually, these are through logging or burning of trees. However, the act of systematically cutting down trees to pave the way for industrial plantations that support the pulp and paper industries or clearing forests to convert them into crop plantation such as palm oil or opening up to mining industries, the simple act elevates to exploitation and deforestation becomes seriously destructive. Conversion to plantations The rate of forest loss is growing fast. In 1980, about 1 million hectare per year was cleared. This accelerated in the first half of the1990s with an average of 1.7 million hectares and by 1996 onwards, the average has grown as high as 2 million hectares (Four Corners, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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