Professor Koh Lian Pin‘s research is focused on key scientific and policy issues concerning tropical deforestation and its impacts on carbon emissions and biodiversity. His latest publication is as follows:
Edwards, David P., L. P. Koh, W. F. Laurance (2011) Indonesia’s REDD+ pact: Savinig imperiled forests or business as usual? Biological Conservation, DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.10.028.
Indonesia and Norway have entered into a landmark deal that will pay Indonesia up to US$1 billion for forest-conservation activities aimed at slowing rampant deforestation and resulting greenhouse gas emissions. A recent Presidential Instruction in Indonesia outlines a key deliverable of this “Partnership” – a two-year suspension on new concessions for clearing or logging of eat and old-growth forest. Here, we discuss the implications of this instruction for carbon and biodiversity protection. The protection of highly threatened deep peatlands represent a clear victory. However, by focusing solely on old-growth forests, the instruction excludes over 46 million ha of selectively logged rainforests, which often have high carbon storage and biodiversity. This leaves the logged forests, most of which are in accessible lowland areas, highly vulnerable to re-logging and conversion for oil palm and pulpwood plantations. The instruction also could allow large areas of peatlands and old-growth forest to be converted to sugarcane – one of the world’s most rapidly expanding biofuel crops. While the Partnership could potentially help reform land-use planning and reduce illegal deforestation in Indonesia, we argue that Indonesia must also strive to protect vulnerable logged forests, which comprise a large part of the country’s high carbon, high biodiversity lands.