100 million trees were to be planted in Indonesia under an Australian carbon-reduction scheme. Five years on, only 50,000 seedlings are in the ground.
The Australian Government’s aid agency, AusAID, has quietly scaled back an ambitious project in Indonesia that sought to reduce carbon emissions through re-forestation and rehabilitation of peatlands.
The $100 million carbon-beating forestry scheme was launched in Indonesia in 2007. But nearly five years on, less than a third of the funds have been committed and the project’s targets have been drastically reduced.
Australia’s then Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, inaugurated AusAID’s Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP).
It was a project that would, in his words, make “a very real and very practical contribution to improving our environment” yielding “immediate and tangible results”.
The plan was to raise $100 million to enable the planting of 100 million trees and rehabilitation of 200,000 hectares of peatland on the Indonesian island of Kalimantan.
The protection of peat areas is considered vital to curbing carbon emissions because they act as vast carbon sinks.
The ambitious scheme was part of a wider experimental program known as Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD – pilot projects for which are under way across the globe.