May 10, 2007

New record for deforestation

How much the annual lost of Indonesian forest is remains debatable. Recently, FAO released data on deforestation which submitted to Guiness Book of Records (GBoR) mentioned Indonesia as the fastest forest destroyer in 2007 (here). Forest has been lost about 1,9 million hectares annually or 2 percent of the remaining 2005 forest, according to FAO. But everyone seems pointing government who solely responsible for the lost of forest which I think it is not necessary so.

Deforestation doesn’t just happen anyway. Many factors have been argued to be the root cause of deforestation (see here). Two of them are the growing demand of commercial commodity for instance palm oil plantation. Second, timber demand has contributed to deforestation in many ways.

Therefore blaming just GoI may ignore the fact that there are other explanations on why forests are dissapearing? On economic point of view, demand on commodity has affected resource allocation and to overcome problem like deforestation, reducing demand would be one of the alternatives. Controlling demand would induce producer to reduce its capacity to supply. So we need some billateral and global cooperation to reduce demand of commodities derived from converted forest such as palm oil and in the other hand, governments who have large area of forest should improve forest management in their own territory. In this light, the lost of forest is not only my responsibility but also yours; it is not only developing countries but also developed countries. In order to be fair, GBoR should find new category of award for the countries who consume a lot of derived products from converted tropical forests together with forest destroyer category.