Every year deliberately lit fires rage across Indonesia. They destroy pristine rainforest, endanger orangutans and contribute to climate change. A young carbon trading entrepreneur goes in search of a solution.
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How forests can be protected
The infernos from forest clearing that rage across Indonesia each year pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. In 2006 the smoke plume covered most of South East Asia with hazy, choking smog. Much of the smoke came from the Indonesian provinces in Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.
Indonesia is now rated the world’s worst in deforestation, felling an area as large as 300 football fields every hour. Because of this massive release of carbon dioxide, Indonesian now ranks as the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.
Carbon trading is one of the solutions that may help reverse the global trend of deforestation. The challenge is to find alternative incomes for those who depend upon the forests for their livelihood.
Forests absorb and store carbon. Because of climate change, carbon is increasingly being traded in world markets, giving forests a new value.
The carbon value of untouched forests could be sold to big polluters in industrialised countries. They need ways to offset their carbon emissions by buying carbon credits elsewhere.
But for the plan to work, money raised from carbon trading has to go back to the people who live and work in the forests. They could be paid to protect the forests – instead of cutting them down.
In this section you can read more about:
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)
The role government can play
What you can do
Sustainable use of tropical forests