Published November 9, 2007 08:39 AM
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Foreign nations share the blame for the destruction of Indonesian forests and should pitch in to help restore them, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Friday.
Indonesia, host of a U.N. climate change conference in December, has been a driving force behind calls for rich countries to compensate poor states that preserve their rainforests to
soak up greenhouse gases.
Kala said developed countries such as Japan and the United States had been major consumers of Indonesian timber, much of which was logged illegally. "It means they have to pay," he said.
According to global environmental group Greenpeace, Indonesia had the fastest pace of deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, destroying an area of forest the size of 300 soccer pitches every hour. The Indonesian government says it must be given incentives, including a payout of $5-$20 per hectare, to preserve its forests. It also wants to negotiate a fixed price for other forms of biodiversity, including coral reefs.
Indonesia has a total forest area of more than 225 million acres, or about 10 percent of the world's remaining tropical forests. But the Southeast Asian country -- whose forests are a treasure trove of plant and animal species including the endangered orang-utan -- has already lost an estimated 72 percent of its original frontier forest.