November 24, 2008 / 11:06 AM / 10 years ago

Trees for kids: Indonesia's way of beating global warming

Heavy clouds are seen in Jakarta June 5, 2007. REUTERS/Beawiharta

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian city battling the effects of deforestation has come up with a novel way of tackling the problem. Would-be families must plant a tree.

“Everyone who wants to get married or apply for a birth certificate must plant a tree,” Syahrum Syah Setia, the head of Balikpapan city’s Environmental Impact Management Agency, said.

“The city’s condition is already worrying, and we must act to tackle global warming.”

The areas around Balikpapan city in East Kalimantan province have lost some of their forest cover to deforestation from the mining and timber sectors.

East Kalimantan loses 350,000-500,000 ha (865,000-1.24 million acres) of forest land a year and the government can only replant 30,000 ha (74,000 acres) of that, local environmental group Walhi said.

Indonesia has lost an estimated 70 percent of its original forest land, although it still has a total forest area of more than 91 million ha (225 million acres).

Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Sugita Katyal and Jeremy Laurence

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