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. Reduce forest concessions, says Indonesian president: report

by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) Nov 29, 2007
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the heads of provinces and districts to be more discerning in issuing forestry concessions, a newspaper report said Thursday.

The president also reportedly apologised for officials "perhaps" issuing permits too freely.

"The heads of provinces, districts and mayors should no longer irresponsibly issue permits," Media Indonesia quoted Yudhoyono as saying.

Officials should also tighten monitoring and supervision of existing concessions and take firm action against violators, he added.

"If they violate (their permits), especially when the violation is over the top, we can take legal steps," the daily reported him as saying.

Rapid deforestation of Indonesia's equatorial forests, which include carbon-rich peatland swamps, has made the country one of the worst emitters of greenhouse gases in the world.

Deforestation has also been blamed for a series of floods and landslides that have struck the nation in recent years.

"We see that the current condition comes from what took place in the past. We apologise, perhaps the issuance of permits was made without caution," Yudhoyono said.

His call comes as Indonesia prepares to host a UN climate change conference where nations will try to lay down the groundwork for an agreement to continue work of the Kyoto Protocol in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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More than a billion trees planted in 2007: UN
Nairobi (AFP) Nov 28, 2007
More than one billion trees were planted around the world in 2007, with Ethiopia and Mexico leading in the drive to combat climate change through new lush forest projects, a UN report said Wednesday.

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