Oddly Enough

Indonesian district orders newly weds to buy trees

Trees are shown in South Sumatra September 16, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A cash-strapped Indonesian district in West Java has ordered couples planning to get married to provide 10 trees to local authorities for a reforestation program, an official said on Wednesday.

Anyone filing for divorce in Garut in West Java would also have to fork out for at least one tree, said Wibowo, the district secretary, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

“The Garut government wants to encourage couples getting married, as well as those seeking divorce, to support a national reforestation program, given budget limitations,” said Wibowo.

Under the new regulation issued last month, couples would have to contribute trees to the forestry unit before their marriage could be legally sanctioned, Wibowo said.

Indonesia has some of the world’s biggest remaining reserves of tropical forests, but pressure from agriculture as well as illegal logging has damaged huge tracts of forest.

The central government launched a program in December last year to plant one million trees.

Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Editing by Ed Davies