Indonesia must ramp up forest management efforts to reduce deforestation, provide local economic benefits, says minister; illegal logging has destroyed 3.5 million hectares of forestland since 1998

JAKARTA, Indonesia , November 2, 2012 () – Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economy, Hatta Rajasa on Friday called to boost forest management in the country as an effort to decline deforestation.

The minister said that forest management is very important in Indonesia because the world's attention is focused on forests.

"It's all the more important as the international community regards the forests in Kalimantan as the lungs of the world," Hatta was quoted by Antara news wire as saying.

He explained that illegal logging activities during the beginning of 1998 had destroyed 3.5 million hectares of forested area but the figure could be reduced to 0.25 million hectares.

"People should also be involved in forest management so that they can gain from the economic aspects of forests," Rajasa said.

Meanwhile, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said his office would provide funds for the development of green areas by people.

According to him, the people could borrow from the fund to buy various kinds of trees and saplings for planting.

"The funds are allocated for development of green areas by people," Hasan said.
(c) 2012 Xinhua News Agency

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