Indonesia to extend ban on forest clearing: official

Indonesia, home to the world's third-largest tropical forests and a powerful palm oil industry, will extend a ban on forest clearing, a government official said on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP
Indonesia, home to the world's third-largest tropical forests and a powerful palm oil industry, will extend a ban on forest clearing, a government official said on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia, home to the world's third-largest tropical forests and a powerful palm oil industry, will extend a ban on forest clearing, a government official said on Wednesday.

Southeast Asia's largest economy is under international pressure to curb deforestation and destruction of carbon-rich peatlands and forests that palm oil and mining companies say they need for expansion.

"Indonesia will extend the moratorium policy," Nur Masirpatin, policy advisor for the ministry of environment and forestry told reporters at a media event, without giving an exact timeframe or length of the renewal. "The policy will certainly continue."

The world's biggest producer of palm oil imposed a two-year moratorium on clearing forest in May 2011 under a US$1 billion climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, and extended for two more years in May 2013.