TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-Vice President Jusuf “JK” Kalla pointed out a huge mistake in the forest management in the past. JK said that Indonesian forests were exploited in hope to improve the people’s prosperity. However, the environmental impact was so severe and cost trillions for rehabilitation efforts.
“We’ve made a huge mistake. In the period of 1960s and 1970s, exploiting forests was a symbol of prosperity. People thought that it was prestigious having millions of hectares of forests ready to be exploited,” JK said in his speech during the opening of the Environment and Forestry Week event at the Jakarta Convention Center on Thursday, June 9, 2016.
He said that the law on forestry mandates reforestation efforts to be conducted after exploitation. However, negligence and ignorance had prevented the reforestation efforts. JK revealed that the highest fee for forests was US$5 per cubic. Despite the regulation, forests were carelessly exploited resulting in floods and climate changes.
“I’m sure that the reforestation cost was beyond the benefits gained from the forest exploitation,” JK added.
The Vice President asserted that the problem was a collective mistake made by Indonesia and other countries. JK said that he always emphasized that other countries also contributed to the deforestation, and they paid the mistake with carbon price.
Several efforts to restore Indonesian forests initiated by the Indonesian government include the 1-million hectare movement, the 1-billion tree program, environment rehabilitation and waste management. The Indonesian government has also crafted programs to restrict plastic bag usage and to certify timbers.
“All of the programs must be realized altogether to improve our welfare and quality of life,” JK said.
The 20th annual Environment and Forestry Week is a part of the commemoration of the World Environment Day that falls on June 5. Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said the theme of the event was “Save Plants and Wild Life for Life”. The theme is in line with that set by the United Nations Environment Programme, which is “Go Wild for Life”.
Siti said that the theme was picked to raise public awareness of crimes against plants and wildlife.
“The theme is expected to inspire people and become a collective power to bring a change in the world,” Siti said.