March 23, 2020

Minister steps in assist forestry sector due to COVID-19

JAKARTA ( - Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya has confirmed that ongoing efforts are currently being undertaken to ensure that there will be no lay-offs in the forestry business sector in relation to the emergency situation caused by the coronavirus in Indonesia which has been put in place until the end of May this year.

"I am continuing to monitor this closely. I have prepared anticipatory measures at various levels given the potential impacts on the forestry industry of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis," Minister Nurbaya stated in a written communication with (Mar 21). 

To this end, Minister Nurbaya explained that a process is underway to provide numerous incentives to the forestry business sector, most notably in collaboration with the Finance Ministry related to tax and non-tax relaxation policies.

The minister said that the monitoring of the level of ongoing impacts in the forestry industry due to the coronavirus covers operations from upstream to downstream as well as their exports and imports.

The following photos portray the transportation of acacia wood to mills, one of the daily operations in the pulp and paper industry sector in Sumatra.

“I am ensuring that the forestry industry keeps running at a certain level in the midst of the emergency situation due to COVID-19,” the minister asserted.

54 national parks closed to tourism

Furthermore, Minister Nurbaya has also taken quick action to curtail the spread of COVID-19 by closing 54 national parks, as well as conservation sites, across Indonesia to tourism.

Last year, she pointed out, nearly 7.5 million domestic visitors and almost half a million foreign tourists were recorded visiting the ministry’s nature conservation tourism sites. 

The photos below are of Sebangau National Park, the largest peat landscape national park in Indonesia and home to thousands of Bornean orangutans. This park is also a popular tourism destination. 

According to the minister, on-the-ground monitoring of national parks and other conservation sites will continue to be conducted at a certain level during the COVID-19 situation, including through the ongoing intensification of the use of the satellite-based monitoring system.

Law enforcement, fires 

Minister Nurbaya affirmed that the ministry’s law enforcement team is still working on the ground at a certain level, such as continuing to act against illegal logging as well as land and forest fires. The ministry team, she added, also continues to extinguish fires in a number of spots.

“These efforts cannot be carried out from home and are of a very high priority. As such, they have to go ahead while complying with the COVID-19 protocols,” she explained.

Other steps taken by the minister with regard to COVID-19 include a refocusing on the ministry’s budget by making a number of revisions aimed at prioritizing efforts to handle impacts in the environment and forestry sector.

“All the measures ordered by President Joko Widodo related to efforts to tackle the coranavirus and its numerous impacts take into account all relevant factors, including those associated with the environment and forestry sector,” Minister Nurbaya wrote in conclusion.