Thu, 28 Aug 2003

No accurate data on forests

AMBON: The Ministry of Forestry -- assigned to manage the country's forests -- has no accurate data concerning provincial forests, let alone the deforestation rate, says an official.

"We need an accurate data base," Boen Purnama, who heads the forestry planning body said here on Wednesday, without elaboration.

Boen was visiting Ambon to mark the commencement of the development of an information system, to enable the Maluku forestry agency to make an inventory of forests in the province.

Indonesia has lost more than 75 percent of its forests over the past few decades, leaving only 60 million hectares at present. Over the past five years, some 43 million hectares of Indonesia's forests, or the equivalent of more than half of Kalimantan Island, has been destroyed.

The World Bank predicts that if the current rapid pace of deforestation continues, Indonesia could lose Sumatra's forests in 2005, with Kalimantan's to follow within five more years. -- Antara