YOGYAKARTA-Decentralization significantly influences forestry sector because of the demands to utilize forest products more instantly with little regard to sustainability aspect. The forestry sector is much less competitive compared to plantation and mining sectors. Conversion of forests to plantations is estimated to keep increasing due to increasing world market, food commodities and biofuels.
"Decentralization is quite influential on the forestry sector which is utilized more instantly, ignoring environmental sustainability," said a lecturer of Faculty of Forestry, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Dr. Ir. Sofyan P. Warsito, in a workshop Questioning the Role of Forestry Sector in Sustainable Economic Development, at the Faculty, Tuesday (8/3). Attending the two-day workshop were the Secretary General at Ministry of Forestry, Dr. Ing. Hadi Daryanto, Director of Forestry and Conservation of Water Resources, National Planning Board, Ir. Basah Hernowo, MA, First Deputy President of the Unit for Monitoring and Control of Development (UKP4), Dr. Heru Prasetyo, and Dr. Paul Burgers from Utrecht University.
Sofyan said that similar situation also happened to peatlands. Indonesia is a country that has the largest peatland in the tropical region. Conversion of peatlands especially for forest and plantation concession has made Indonesia one of the largest greenhouse gas emitter. "The establishment of new local governments after decentralization has caused many districts mostly have peatlands, so they have little choice," he added.
On that occasion Sofyan also briefly mentioned the economy has become the main consideration that controls spatial process. There is suspicion that spatial review more accommodates large-scale economic interests rather than sustainability.
In addition, development of forestry sector in the national economy from time to time also showed the downward trend. The decrease is primarily marked by forest degradation and decrease of area and forest covering due to forest conversion to other business sectors (mainly oil and mining), either based on government policy or illegal conversion. "The decline of condition of forest stands, among others, can be indicated by the number of units of the former forest logging companies (HPH), whose right exertion has expired in Java Island which is abandoned without management, as well as because of unstructured cutting (or illegal logging)," said Sofyan.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of Ministry of Forestry, Hadi Daryanto, said that after three decades of cultivation of production forests, most of the HPH’s areas become logged forest (HBT) and have been or soon become the second cutting cycle. Satellite image in 2006 of production forest degradation showed the total areas of logged forest was 45 million ha.
Strategic review of forestry sector shows the future of Indonesia's forest plantations and management of HBT. Efforts to implement sustainable forest management (SFM) which has been declared by the ITTO in 1991 and SFM certification efforts have not revealed a satisfactory outcome. "So, to anticipate problems, especially the different sustainable forest management, it needs to manage the regenerative capacity of natural forests with more than one sivicultural systems treatment appropriate to the sites," said Hadi Daryanto.