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Kalimantan’s Primary Forests Disappearing Rapidly

Monday July 10, 2006

Kalimantan’s precious primary forests has been disappearing rapidly, which is the main cause for the recent flooding and erasions that have swept villages in South, Central and East Kalimantan, said Director of Greenomics Indonesia, Elfian Effendi last Tuesday, 4 July, as reported by Kompas daily.




The Ecological safety of Kalimantan (’s side of the island of Borneo ) is already below standard, where the ratio between primary forest cover compared to river beds must reach a minimum of 30 per cent. In 2004 the ratio was 20%, with specifications per province as follows:  29% for East Kalimantan , 20% for West Kalimantan , 19% for South Kalimantan , with the worst position being Central Kalimantan at only 13%.



While, data from the Department of Forestry for 2004 showed that 1.8 million hectares of Kalimantan ’s protected forests have been destroyed, with another 8.1 million hectares of production forests also cleared of forested areas.



At this rate, then in 2006, the ratio between forests and river courses will be down to 15%, or half of the minimum forest cover required. And, since Kalimantan is no longer safe ecologically, the island will soon be unsafe economically also, said Effendi.



According to calculations made by Greenomics, ecological divestment to shore up erosions will reach Rp. 25.47 trillion per year, while to restore the ecosystem and water management, another Rp. 10.80 trillion per year is spent. This is not yet counting the value of losses made in the disappearance of the rich biodiversity that is inherent in these forests, said Greenomics Director Effendi.