How to TOPIX: Crown Management Jakarta Capital - Indonesia Field Report III
Posted in the Business News Forum
Since: Feb 13
#1 Feb 25, 2013
The park was also badly affected by extensive fires several years ago. The big dipterocarp trees that are the essence of a Southeast Asian rainforest and on which many animal species depend for survival – and the hardwood of which is unfortunately highly valuable – have been all but eliminated in vast tracks of the park. The one last standing dipterocarp a kilometer deep into the forest has become an attraction to show to tourists. As a result, and also because of hunting, few hornbills are left in much of the park: Over the days we spent there, we saw only three species of hornbills: wrinkled, rhinoceros, and Asian pied. Overall, despite hours and hours in the forest, we could saw few other species of birds and mammals, including those that should be common genera in this kind of habitat, such as bulbuls and broadbills. One of the most common bird species in the park, even as deep into the forest as that which several hours of hiking would bring us, seemed to be the blue-eared barbet, a typical forest-edge species whose prevalence well inside the forest indicated that the forest is destroyed and of marginal quality and resembles more a forest edge, rather than a high-quality lowland growth.
We cut the motor of our canoe to watch the orangutan male, but instead of birds and insects, we continued hearing engines and industrial noise from a major coal mine that churned on nonstop for 24 hours a day right on the edge of the forest. Quite possibly, the mine could actually lie at least partly inside what was once national park. Park boundaries in Indonesia are exceedingly easy to redraw to accommodate mining and logging interests and generate revenues for local officials. During interviews with artisanal loggers in villages inside and around Kutai and in other national parks throughout the archipelago, I was told that local government officials and park managers would occasionally clandestinely encourage or at least tacitly tolerate artisanal logging and mining for gold and coal. The initial opening up of the ecosystem and thereafter its degradation would then allow them to apply to national offices in Jakarta to have parts of the park redesignated as unprotected environmentally-degraded land so they could issue permits for industrial-scale logging and mining concessions or African oil palm plantations, which bring great revenues. As efforts to improve local resource management and governance have produced various rankings of how much revenue local officials raise and “invest” in local communities, few regencies (the local administrative unit in Indonesia equivalent to a county) have an incentive to be saddled with forest that cannot be exploited. Whether the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) schemes, discussed below, will succeed in altering the structure of incentives remains to be seen and depends as much on local political-economy structures and power distribution as on their technical and financial feasibility.
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