Wed, 22 Nov 2000

Falling timber supplies ahead: Minister

JAKARTA (JP): The Minister of Forestry Nurmahmudi Ismail warned the lumber industry on Tuesday that supplies of timber would decline over the coming years in line with the country's shrinking forests.

"Every year, the size of our natural forest is shrinking," Nurmahmudi said during a meeting with executives of lumber companies at the Athlete Century Park Hotel.

Indonesia's total forested area has fallen to 58.5 million hectares from 64 million over the last six years largely due to excessive exploitation, according to the ministry.

The minister said lumber companies should strive for greater efficiency in their processing plants, including making more effective use of available timber supplies.

Logging companies should make the most of the trees they fell, he said, noting that the branches, twigs, and barks which they usually left behind could still be employed for productive purposes.

Companies should aim for "zero percent" waste, he said.

Meanwhile, Soegeng Widodo, the ministry's director general of production forest management, said the government would issue 70 forestry concessions in the coming month.

Of these, 21 would be new concessions and the other 49 would be extensions of existing concessions, he told the meeting.

Most of the concessions cover 50,000 hectares of forest, according to Antara. (03)