“In Indonesia, protected forest functions as a conservation of HCV (High Conservation Value), HCS (High Carbon Stock) and biodiversity, while the cultivation area including oil palm plantations is functioning economically”
Indonesia is not Europe nor the United States. In European countries and North America, at the beginning of its development has cleared its forests, both protected forest and conservation forest, including its inhabitants. There is no more remaining primary forest, or sub-tropical animals these days. Although it is not possible to restore what has been damaged in the past, the current generation of Europe and North America, is rebuilding its forests including their High Concrete Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) areas. If current countries of Europe and North America claimed that they have forests, these are secondary forests, abandoned ex-agricultural land (Soemarwoto, 1992).
What about Indonesia? Although still struggling in developing the economy, since the beginning of its establishment, Indonesia has classified which forest are able to convert (deforestable) and the ones that should be preserved (non-deforestable) in which HCV and HCS exist. The forests in which HCS and HCV are, in the Forestry Act No.41 / 1999 are known as protected forests and conservation forests, which in the National Tataruang Law (Law 26/2007) are called the Protected Areas.
According to Forestry Statistics (2013) the area of protected forest is 30.39 million hectares and the area of conservation forest is about 22.06 million hectares. The details include the Nature Reserve (3.9 million hectares), the Wildlife Reserve (5.2 million hectares), the National Park (12.3 million hectares), the Nature Park, the People’s Forest Park and the Hunting Park (0.83 million hectares).
These forests are primary forests, original and protected, and should not be converted to other uses. In protected forests and conservation are the “homes” of biodiversity such as wildlife, plant and microbial variety, water system functions, and overall ecosystem conservation. In Indonesia, the conservation of HCV, HCS and biodiversity already exist in protected forests and conservation forests. Forests that may be converted for development purposes are production forests, especially convertible forests with certain procedures and are regulated in the forestry laws. Production forests are known as land banks; that are used as land stocks to meet development and occupational needs such as urban areas, housing, industries, agriculture, plantations, etc., which are referred in the spatial law as ‘cultivation areas’.
The process of converting production forest into a cultivation area by the Government is basically only the needs of development / population. The Forestry Law mandates that conversion of production forests to cultivation areas is not based on the carbon stock value, just like demanded by NGOs. As long as it really is the production forest, with any kind of carbon stock, can be converted into a cultivated area. Likewise, if they are conservation and protection forests, no matter how small the carbon stock exists, they can not be converted into cultivation area.
Therefore, it is wrongly addressed if Western countries including NGOs demand the conservation of HCV, HCS or biodiversity in palm plantations with permits or in the cultivation area in general. The irrational demands of these NGOs are just as irrational as if we demanded the economic function of protected / conservation forests. Each forest has a different role and function in the harmony of national space.
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