Wed, 09 Jul 2003


Protected park looted for timber

BENGKULU, Bengkulu: Ten percent of the protected Kerinci Seblat National Park in Bengkulu had been deforested and used for horticultural plantations, provincial forestry office head Hidayat Syahid said on Tuesday.

Hidyat said more than 19,000 hectares of the 203,000-hectare forest had been converted to commercial crops in several districts across North Bengkulu Regency.

Other areas involving thousands of hectares of forest had simply been logged and abandoned, he said.

"Besides the destruction in the protected forest, 37,000 hectares of Bengkulu's 219,000 hectares of nature reserves have been denuded by similar activities."

North Bengkulu Regent Muslihan claimed his administration was striving hard to deal with squatters in the forest, including by conducting raids.

Based on data from the Bengkulu provincial administration in 1998, the regency had around 920,000 hectares of forest areas, 76 percent of which constituted protected and conservation forests. The remainder comprised limited and fixed production forests. --Antara