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Indonesia forestry ministry seeks to extend ban, faces resistance from palm oil industry

Published on Jan 14, 2013 5:47 PM
This photograph taken on June 5, 2012 in Central Kalimantan province in Indonesia's Borneo island shows a bulldozer used in clearing forest land for palm oil plantation travelling on a plantation road. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia should embrace its key role in climate change and extend a ban on the destruction of forests and peatlands despite opposition from the agriculture minister and the influential palm oil industry, a senior forestry ministry official said.

Indonesia, home to the world's third-largest expanse of tropical forests, is under intense international pressure to limit deforestation and destruction of its carbon-rich peatlands, at risk from urbanisation and the rapidly expanding palm oil and mining sectors.

Southeast Asia's largest economy imposed a two-year moratorium on clearing forest in May 2011 under a US$1 billion (S$1.2 billion) climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, and the government has yet to announce what it plans to do about the ban.

Mr Hadi Daryanto, secretary general at Indonesia's forestry ministry, told Reuters he hoped it would be extended.

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