Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan assessed the need of radical policy for Indonesian forestry. If not, the tropical forest is feared to extinct. He pointed out most of the area measuring 187 millions of hectares have been cultivated, leaving only conservation forests.
“Fortunately, there are many graduates from UGM Faculty of Forestry. If not, the Indonesian tropical forests will become history,” said Zulkifli in the discussion on forest for people’s prosperity in the Balairung of UGM, Saturday (26/10), to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Forestry.
Zulkifli admitted the numerous forestry problems in Indonesia, such as forest degradation and land conflicts. Between 1998-2002, the forest degradation was predicted to range between 3.5 - 4 millions of hectare per year, reducing to 2 million currently. He saw different measures taken on big timber companies and smaller ones.
“Permits for big corporations, for instance for HPH or HTI, are given sooner, thus creating land conflicts,” he added.
In the same place, Governor of Jakarta Governor who is also an alumnus of Faculty of Forestry, Joko Widodo, agreed the firm stance of regional leaders to restructure the forests and environment, for example on the prospect of growing sengon (Albizia chinensis) trees for people.
“The growing of sengon trees is promising. Regional leaders can ‘force’ the local people to start growing them,” he said.
Rector of UGM, Prof. Dr. Pratikno, M.Soc.Sc, also supported the efforts to restructure the forest for people’s prosperity. Faculty of Forestry UGM with other disciplines has the responsibility to meet this goal. Forests no longer serve as a source of food but also energy, Pratikno added.
“UGM has such a commitment and let’s position the forest as part of the future,” said Pratikno.
To mark the 50th anniversary, 30 ruddy cuckoo doves and 20 sooty-headed bulbul birds are released by the Minister, the Governor, the Rector, and the Dean.