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Considerable development of Indonesian forest and forestry was initiated 30 years ago. Forestry became one of the lead sectors for development and during this period Indonesian forestry has constituted a very essential sector of the Indonesian economy. The forestry sector contributes to employment, the development of backward and remote areas, foreign exchange revenues, and generates goods for other sectors of the economy. In short, directly and indirectly, forests greatly contribute to the social and economic welfare of the country. Indonesian forests provide raw materials to a large number of industries so that forest and wood-based industries have domestic and export markets and provide significant multiplier effects.

The Major Guidelines for National Development of Indonesia (GBHN) indicate that Indonesia forest resources should be utilised in a rational and sustainable way with regard to their environmental role and the needs of future generations. The specific goals of Indonesian forestry are related to: (a) environmental conservation, (b) economic growth, (c) social welfare, (d) reduction in unemployment, (e) trade-off in involvement of private, public and co-operative sectors especially in economics activities, (f) promotion of investment and economic growth in less developed regions, and (g) attention to global environmental issues.

The more specific goals of Indonesia forest resource management have been centred upon: (a) develop the outer islands so as to relieve population pressure in Java and Bali; (b) utilise forests, including plantations, for national development; (c) develop more productive man-made forests and convert degraded-unproductive areas to produce more wood; (d) generate livelihood opportunities for forest communities and the rural population through the multiple-use management of forests; and (e) conserve natural resources to benefit present and future generations.

In implementing these policies, the MoF derives the programmes on the basis of some items of legislation. Some legislation relevant to forestry development are Act No. 5 of 1967 - the basic forestry law; Act No. 4 of 1982 - the basic environmental management law; and Act No. 5 of 1990 - the conservation of natural living resource and their ecosystems. Under the Act No. 5 of 1967, the Government of Indonesia (GOI) through the Ministry of Forestry (MoF) holds authority to control, manage, and administer the forest resource. The Act No. 5 of 1967 basically determined that forest resource development be directed to: (a) water regulation, (b) flood and erosion prevention, (c) wood and non-wood production, and (d) source of income. The Act also covered the sustained yield principle and the rights of present and future generations to access to and hence benefit from the forest.

In fact, the policies on forestry are mainly based on national development objectives defined under a 25-year long-term national development plan (Pola Dasar Pembangunan Jangka Panjang (PJP) further detailed in a 5-year national development plan (Pelita). Indonesia is now in the period of the second long-term national development plan (PJP II) from 1994 to 2019, under which the national objectives are directed to economics, environmental, religion, culture, national defence and security, as well as politics. In the beginning of this period, particularly during the ongoing Pelita VI (1995-2000), the objectives of forestry sector emphasise sustainability, conservation, people's participation in forestry activities, poverty alleviation as well as economic and political stability. This would be further implemented consistently in the future.

How far all these long-term objectives can be achieved now depends greatly on success of the government in handling the recent monetary and confidence crisis. In facing the crisis, the government is now preparing some strategic and practical responses to hold the targets and objectives unchanged partly through implementation of the 50-point Letter of Intent agreed upon with the IMF.

Source : http://www.fao.org/

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