Indonesia is home to the third largest area of tropical forests in the world after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its forests contain some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems and provide livelihoods for a third of its population.
There has been good progress in reducing deforestation in Indonesia, with the rate of primary forest loss declining from 2015 to 2018. Yet Indonesia still has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. In 2016 alone, Indonesia lost more than one million hectares of natural forest – a third of the area of Belgium – following a year of major fires in 2015. This makes Indonesia a major greenhouse gas emitter. Significant amounts of deforestation and accompanying emissions are due to illegal conversion to industrial forestry and agriculture, small-scale farming, and human-induced disasters, including wildfires aggravated by climatic conditions.
Under the Paris Agreement on climate change, Indonesia aims to limit annual deforestation to 325 000 hectares between 2020 and 2030. In recent years, Indonesia has strengthened law enforcement to prevent land clearing and forest fire, while working to restore degraded peatlands to reduce fire and emissions. It is the first country to implement a nationwide system for verifying the legality of timber products through a partnership with the European Union (EU). Since 2016, Indonesia has exported only verified legal timber products under its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). In 2019, Indonesia also made permanent a moratorium banning the clearing of primary forests and peatlands.