Conservation News: Indoneisan Ministry Says Forest Law Aims at Big Operators

By Stephanie Hendarta & Marco Puguh for the Jakarta Globe

The Forestry Ministry says a new law will aid law-enforcement efforts to protect forests from destruction, but critics lament that it fails to address key issues, such as indigenous rights and forest fires. (AFP Photo)
The Forestry Ministry says a new law will aid law-enforcement efforts to protect forests from destruction, but critics lament that it fails to address key issues, such as indigenous rights and forest fires. (AFP Photo)

The Forestry Ministry has defended a new law that critics claim fails to criminalize the setting of forest fires and reduces punishment for illegal logging, saying it is focused on large-scale, systematic destruction.

Sumanto, a spokesman for the Forestry Ministry, told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday that the Law on Preventing and Eradicating Forest Destruction, passed on Tuesday, would focus on tackling organized forest destruction, while the issue of forest fires would still be dealt with under the 1999 Forestry Law.

He added that the government was optimistic about the new law, which was originally conceived in 2002.

“The new law is extraordinary. … Hopefully it will make law enforcement for forest crimes more effective and more synergistic. We are hoping to get more commitment from everyone, including people from rural areas within the forests, the police to government officials,” Sumanto said.

“While the issue of forest fires is not mentioned in the new legislation, the punishment for starting a forest fire will still be dealt with under other environmental legislation.”

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of the Jakarta Globe and can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

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