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Great reduction in deforestation of Indonesia’s rainforests

A new analysis shows that the destruction of natural forests in Indonesia declined by 48 percent in the period 2012 to 2013. The numbers are yet to be quality assured, but we hope this is a sign that the government’s actions against deforestation in Indonesia have begun to show result, says Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Ms. Tine Sundtoft.

Disclaimer: not official translation

Less natural forest was destroyed in 2013 than in 2012 in Indonesia – the biggest partner-country of the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative. The decline in Indonesia appears to be significant, while in Brazil it has been more moderate. Through the bilateral partnership on forest and climate between Norway and Indonesia, Norway has pledged to contribute up to 6 billion if Indonesia can show a reduction in deforestation.

According to an analysis from the World Resources Institute (WRI) published in New York today, the destruction of natural forests in Indonesia decreased by 48 percent from 2012 to 2013 - the lowest number in ten years. This is such a great reduction that it has surprised the scientists.

"This gives grounds for cautious optimism. It is too early to make any conclusions about the causes of the reduction, but we hope that this is a sign that the government’s action against deforestation in Indonesia has begun to work. It is positive that Indonesia's new government has indicated that it continues and reinforces the efforts that were initiated under the previous president" says the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Tine Sundtoft.

According the World Resources Institute it is Indonesia’s moratorium on new logging licenses one of several possible explanations for the decline in deforestation. The moratorium was introduced by the former president as part of the bilateral partnership with Norway on forest and climate.

Commitments from the private sector to no longer destroy rainforest (, lower commodity prices on palm oil, and the fact that much of the most accessible natural forests in Indonesia is unfortunately already deforested, are other possible explanations that are highlighted.

- May cause major environmental gain

The analysis from the World Resources Institute covers only the change in forest cover for one year, and it is therefore too early to say whether the decline is temporary or the beginning of a trend.

"Now we are waiting in anticipation for the figures for 2014. If 2014 figures also show the same level or a further decline this will be good news for the climate, and an example of how efforts to preserve the rainforest works and can provide major environmental gain relatively quickly" says Sundtoft.

Indonesia has the world's third largest greenhouse gas emissions after the United States and China. 80 percent of emissions come from deforestation, forest degradation and destruction of peatlands, partly due to the conversion of rainforest to palm oil plantations.

Increase in other tropical forest countries Brazil is another important partner for Norway rainforest initiative ( In Brazil, WRIs analysis shows a moderate decline in forest destruction from 2012 to 2013. Unfortunately, it appears that many other countries in the tropics experienced increased forest degradation. This is also the case for boreal forests in countries like Canada and Russia.

Facts about Global Forest Watch

  • The analysis from the World Resources Institute published today on the website Global Forest Watch is a monitoring tool for the world's forests.
  • Global Forest Watch collects information about the world's forests from a variety of sources, and publishes this public for free. The tool is the result of collaboration between, among others, the World Resources Institute, Google and Norway International Climate and Forest Initiative.
  • By combining satellite technology, existing databases for forest information and contributions from people on the ground across the globe, Global Forest Watch constitutes one of the world's most important sources of forest information.
  • Norway rainforest initiative (the climate and forest initiative), has supported GFW with a total of 60 million NOK in the period 2013-2015. Among the 60 other partners are Google, several UN institutions and civil society organizations.
  • One of the key features of GFW is the annual analysis of the global forest cover change, based on satellite images. On 2. April, WRI made public the numbers for the year 2013 and it is expected that the publication will receive wide international attention.
  • WRI will in the coming years update the forest figures annually, and further develop the Global Forest Watch to have even more accurate analysis. The long-term goal is to deliver deforestation analysis more frequently than annually, and to include even more data sources.
  • WRI data includes analysis of changes in canopy cover for the world in the period 2000-2013, and a system for notification of forest fires.


Facts about Norway rainforest initiative (climate and forest initiative)

  • Norway contributes up to 3 billion NOK annually for international efforts that preserve the rainforest and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Emissions from forest degradation in developing countries account to about 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • So far, 14 billion NOK has been disbursed (
  • Norway has rainforest agreements with Indonesia, Brazil, Guyana, Peru, Liberia on payments for reducing emissions from forest. Additionally, Norway supports measures in other tropical forest countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar, work against illegal logging through Interpol / United Nations, as well as measures that ensures that agricultural commodities such as palm oil and soy no longer contribute to destroying the rainforest.