As negotiations for a new global approach to climate change remain stalled and there is no expectation of progress at the negotiations in Cancun in December 2010, donors have instead made the cessation of deforestation an interim target. A staggering USD 4 billion has been pledged to support this goal. This supposes two things about deforestation, or as we prefer to describe it, conversion of forest land to other uses. First, this will reduce emissions significantly. And, second, the conversion of vast areas of forest to conservation parks will benefit the people of those countries and the environment. This paper has focused on current policy developments in Indonesia. Indonesia is currently the only forested nation that is close to contemplating a ‘zero deforestation’ policy. There is close to USD 2 billion of forest-related development assistance pledged to Indonesia. It has historically high levels of deforestation but also has large areas of forest protection. It is also a country with high levels of economic growth. Development indicators – such as infant mortality and life expectancy have improved remarkably. The population living below the poverty line has also decreased significantly. A major contributor has been the capacity to convert forest land to more productive uses.
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