photo: Marc Veraart via flickr
Just last month the US reauthorized a bill that trades debt relief for forest conservation pledges. Mongabay is reporting that Indonesia is availing itself of the program, having $30 million in debt forgiven in exchange for increased forest protection in Sumatra:This is the largest debt relief for conservation agreement ever reached, and the first time Indonesia has participated in the US program (in fact, they weren't even listed on the eligible countries last I checked...).
Money to be Put in Conservation Trust Fund
What this means is that Indonesia will put $30 million over the next eight years into a trust fund, which will issue grants for forest conservation and restoration work on the island. That work is sorely needed, considering that in the past 20 years or so about 90% of the original forest cover has been removed due to logging or conversion to agriculture. Yes, 90%.
All in all, some pretty good news. Now let's forgive some more debt and channel the money into preserving some forest in Borneo as well.
Mongabay has a complete list of the 13 protected areas already slated to benefit from the program: US forgives $30M in debt to protect rainforests in Sumatra, Indonesia
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Indigenous Rights Crucial to Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation
Sumatra's Remaining Forests Get Government Pledge of Protection