Foreign donors should contribute sustainable timber in Aceh reconstruction efforts | WWF

Foreign donors should contribute sustainable timber in Aceh reconstruction efforts

Posted on 27 January 2005
Clearing of natural forests could lead to future disasters. Gunung Leuser National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia.
© WWF / Alain Compost
A report by Greenomics Indonesia, the policy research institute, and WWF, shows that as much as 266,666ha of timber — an area more than four times the size of Singapore — will be needed for the tsunami reconstruction effort in Aceh over the next five years.

The two organizations say that to avoid the clearing of hundreds of thousands of Indonesian forests, alternative foreign sources of timber should be explored so as not to create further financial burdens on the Indonesian government. 
Greenomics and WWF are proposing that some of the aid already pledged by donors for the reconstruction of Aceh should be made in the form of timber. They calculate that this would amount to one million cubic meters per year, an amount that could quite easily be met by the donors' joint efforts. 
“The option of sourcing timber as aid from other countries is much more rational than accelerating land clearing of natural forests in the name of the reconstruction of Aceh,” said Elfian Efendi, the Executive Director of Greenomics. 
"It is also important that the timber comes from sustainable sources. Otherwise in tackling one disaster we shall merely be creating another one."    
Greenomics and WWF fear that if the government continues to source timber, particularly unsustainable supplies from Indonesia, this will lead to severe flood and landslide problems. Even before the tsunami about 70 per percent of timber was estimated to come from unsustainable sources.  
“The WWF-Global Network is prepared to provide assistance to the Indonesia government to source timber internationally by approaching international organizations and International donor agencies to mobilize timber and develop aid policies and mechanisms to push the process,” said Mubariq Ahmad, Executive Director of WWF-Indonesia   
The proposal for foreign aid in the form of timber is backed by Indonesian parliament.

“This is a creative solution which will reduce pressure on the Indonesia’s natural forest, “ Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, a prominent parliamentarian and former Environment Minister. 
For further information:
Elfian Effendi, Executive Director
Greenomics Indonesia
Tel: +62 21 7279 7226
Cellphone: +62 818 959 243 

Mubariq Ahmad, Executive Director
WWF Indonesia,
Tel: +62 21 576 1070
Cellphone: +62 812 105 4587