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Riau may become a desert in 40 years PEKANBARU - Deforestation may turn the resource-rich province of Riau into a desert in 40 years unless preventive measures are taken, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) said. The province's Spatial Layout Plan (RTRWP) up to 2015 includes converting protected forests and water catchment areas into timber estates, which will likely turn Riau into a vast barren land. The situation is worsened by illegal logging and the rapid switch to mono-cultivation where land is cleared to grow only one type of cash crop, the WWF revealed.
'This critical condition supports the prediction that Riau will likely be a vast barren land,' Mr Purwo Susanto of the province's WWF representative office said. Environmentalists believe the Riau RTRWP was not independently drawn up, but had been subject to the influence of two giant paper companies which want to set up timber estates.But the paper companies have denied such allegations.
Riau Governor Saleh Djasit attributed his region's forest damage to illegal logging, occupation by squatters, poverty, a lack of awareness of forest development, policy errors, mismanagement and fires. But most notably, the destruction is due to the disparity between raw material supply and industrial demand for pulp, he said.



Posted in Environment @ 14 July 2002 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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