A province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has pledged to stop destruction of its forests and peatlands in an effort to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation by 50% by 2009, Mongabay.com reports.
Riau’s governor announced the temporary ban, which will remain in place until signed into law, at a ceremony in the province’s capital Pekanbaru.
“The moratorium is an important first step and an opportunity for the local government, forest communities and other stakeholders to improve forest governance,” says Arief Wicaksono, Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Political Advisor.
Curbing deforestation means the province will scale back plans to triple the area of land under oil palm cultivation.
Oil palm, which is used in the production of palm oil, is currently the largest driver of forest clearing in the province.
A study released in February estimated that deforestation of 4.2 million hectares of tropical forest and peat swamp in Riau over the past 25 years has generated 3.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.