Indonesia: Bogor's Puncak Forest to Lose Status as Protected Zone

Vento Saudale Jakarta Globe 30 Jul 12;

Bogor will no longer have a protected forest zone in the hilly Puncak area, under planned revisions to the district’s 2008 zoning regulations.

Suryanto Putra, head of zoning and the environment at the Bogor Development Planning Board (Bappeda), said on Sunday that the 8,745 hectares of protected forest straddling the subdistricts of Cirasua and Megamendung would be changed to logging forests, farmland and residential areas.

The protected forest designation was mandated under a 2008 presidential decree on zoning in Greater Jakarta, but Suryanto said the area’s protected status could not be maintained.

“Lots of people already live inside the protected forest area. We feel sorry for them because under the current zoning regulations, we can’t issue them permits for anything in that area,” he said, adding that the change in status would occur over the next three months.

Dwi Lesmana, a researcher with the environmental group Forest Watch Indonesia, disagreed that the change would help residents living in the affected area, saying most of the homes there were holiday villas built without permits.

Ernan Rustiadi, a senior planning researcher at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), said lifting the protected status would reduce the already dwindling forest cover of just 12 percent.

“Even with the protected forest status, the Cisadane and Ciliwung rivers are already in critical condition, so imagine how much worse it’ll be under a logging forest status,” he said.