Indonesia Forest-Clearing Ban is Made Permanent, But Labeled ‘Propaganda’

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Indonesia’s president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging. It’s a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere “propaganda.”

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said President Joko Widodo had signed the permanent extension of the moratorium on Aug. 5. The moratorium prohibits the conversion of primary natural forests and peatlands for oil palm, pulpwood and logging concessions, and was introduced in 2011 by then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as part of wider efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation.

But the moratorium hasn’t helped slow the loss of primary forests, say activists. If anything, they say, the deforestation rate has actually increased within areas that qualify for the moratorium.

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