It's Gonna Take a Lotta Love to Reforest Indonesia


Photo by alexindigo via Flickr

Love is often said to blossom, but a new government initiative in the Indonesian district of Garut aims to make that metaphor literal by requiring newly married couples to plant 10 tree saplings.Two years ago, Indonesia was noted in the Guinness Book of Records for a dubious distinction--achieving the world's fastest rate of deforestation, cutting down an area the size of 300 soccer fields every hour, for a total of 4.4 million acres a year. The country's fervent felling has also made it the world's third-largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions, after the United States and China. As CNN reported in a recent story about the new law:

While Garut province is not the country's worst offender, a Garut forestry official said he can no longer ignore the damage. "Most people here work in agriculture, which is of course highly dependent on the fertility of the soil," said Eddy Muharam of Garut's forestry department. "The fertility is decreasing now because of deforestation and intensive use of soil."

According to local environmental officials, Garut, in the province of West Java, needs 50 million new trees to make up for the damage done by over-farming, which also intensifies flood risks in the low-lying nation by creating soil erosion. With each couple like Cucu and Yati Supriyatna, the newlyweds featured in the CNN story, planting just 10 saplings--theirs were of eucalyptus, avocado and mahogany trees--it will require a lot of weddings to meet that goal.

Or a lot of divorces.

Undermining the romantic idea of a tree growing along with a couple's love, a divorcing pair actually provides more benefit to the environment under the new law--people who want to split up must plant 50 trees.

The idea of a tree-planting requirement in lieu of a fee or a fine for something has also been used in Turkey, where a local court in the Zonguldak province recently sentenced four people who had committed various offenses--including one man found guilty of insulting his divorced wife--to plant and take care of trees over a one-year period. Now there's a new angle for those green-wedding gurus: the green divorce. Via: "Newlyweds turn back clock on deforestation," CNN.com

More about Indonesia:
Silent Day: From Bali to the World on March 21
Indonesia to Allow More Palm Oil From Peat Lands: Watch Greenhouse Gas Emissions Go Through the Roof
Seaweed Biodiesel Cooperation Between S. Korea, Indonesia
Greenpeace's "Forests for Climate" Tour Reaches Indonesia
Sumatra's Remaining Forests Get Government Pledge of Protection
Malaysia and Indonesia to Expand Domestic Palm Oil Biodiesel as Commodity Price Drops
Endangered Elephants and Tigers Get to Keep More of Their Sumatran Habitat Thanks to Government
Indonesia Needs Jatropha Subsidies to Boost Market, Say Researchers
Biofuel Cooperation Discussed Between Indonesia, Brazil
Exploring Southeast Asia's Geothermal Potential
Up the Citarum, Without a Paddle
Indonesian Peat Burning Emits 1/7th of Global CO2
Indonesian Kancil Minicar Promoted by Government

Tags: Deforestation | Indonesia | Turkey | Weddings