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Research Report

Indonesia’s forest moratorium: A stepping stone to better forest governance?

Daniel Murdiyarso
Sonya Dewi
Deborah Lawrence
Frances Seymour
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2011
Pages: 24
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) was adopted at the 13th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a global mechanism to mitigate climate change¹. The mechanism, now called REDD+, encompasses a wider spectrum of activities, including forest conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks through afforestation and reforestation².

    On 26 May 2010, the governments of the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of Norway signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) on REDD+³. Under the LoI, Indonesia agreed to take several actions,...

  2. (pp. 2-4)

    An Inpres is a set of presidential instructions to concerned ministries and other government agencies. As a non-legislative document, there are no legal consequences if its instructions are not implemented. Inpres No. 10/2011 issues instructions to three ministers (Forestry, Home Affairs and Environment) and the heads of five agencies (Presidential Delivery Unit for Development Oversight, National Land Agency, National Coordination Agency for Spatial Planning, National Coordination Agency for Survey and Mapping and the proposed agency to manage REDD+), as well as governors and heads of district governments. The Inpres describes the tasks and the roles of each agency over a...

  3. (pp. 4-7)

    From the outset, the moratorium raised a number of contested issues amongst interest groups. Controversial issues include the definition of forest types under the moratorium, the scope or areas under the moratorium and the activities not covered under the moratorium or exempt from its application.

    The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines ‘primary forest’ as naturally regenerated forests of native tree species, in which there are no clearly visible indications of human activity and ecological processes are not significantly disturbed (FAO 2010a). In many cases, the term ‘primary forest’ signifies an old growth forest that is dominated by native species...

  4. (pp. 7-9)

    Peatlands receive special attention in the moratorium because of their significant role in storing carbon and providing other environmental services, including water and biodiversity conservation. Indeed, the main positive environmental impacts of the moratorium stem from the additional protection that it extends to this ecosystem.

    Indonesian peatlands cover around 20.2 Mha, distributed across Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua with varying depth and bulk density. They are estimated to store more than 30 billion tonnes of carbon (Ministry of Forestry 2008). Papua harbours the largest area of peatlands, most of which are shallow. In contrast, Kalimantan has the smallest area, but with...

  5. (pp. 9-12)

    The Ministry of Forestry’s release of 2009 land cover data and the IMM for public review in August 2011 is a significant step to be applauded. Given the moratorium’s relatively short lifespan and limited scope, one of the most important benefits of the Inpres is that it orders the relevant ministries and agencies to engage in regular and transparent dialogue with the public to improve the map. The text of the moratorium states that the IMM will be subject to regular revision. This suggests that the review of existing concession licences and better spatial planning could eventually change the size...

  6. (pp. 12-12)

    Although the moratorium is limited in time and scope, it nevertheless has the potential to facilitate improvements in forest governance, which is the key to achieving land-based emission reductions in the long run.

    The moratorium sends a clear and strong message about the importance of protecting peatlands in particular; putting these words into action will result in substantial emission reductions. However, the Inpres imposes no sanctions, thus perpetuating the implementation challenge.

    The direction provided by the Inpres for non-peat forest can only be described as a missed opportunity. Revisions during the implementation process may allow a second chance to shift...