Indonesia, which is losing its forests faster than any other country, hopes to plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of a major UN climate change meeting later this year, a forestry ministry spokesman said today.
"We aim to get Indonesia greener as soon as we can and reduce forest degradation as much as possible," said Masyhud, who goes by a single name. <b1>
The trees, mostly eucalyptus and teak, will be planted across the world's fourth largest nation on November 28, he said. The country's president will take part in the campaign, said Masyhud.
Masyhud said saplings would be distributed in advance to more than 70,000 villages across the country, where community elders, government officials and villagers would plant them.
Environmental group Greenpeace said in May that Indonesia was losing its forests faster than any other country, with the equivalent of about 300 soccer pitches destroyed every hour. The forestry ministry did not contest the statement.
Around 4.5 million acres of forest were destroyed each year between 2000 and 2005, a rate of 2 per cent annually or 51 square kilometres a day, the group said.
In addition to massive commercial logging for timber, Indonesian forests are also being decimated by fires and land clearing for palm oil plantations.
Masyhud said that since 2003 the government has launched several conservation initiatives, including signing agreements with Japan and the European Union banning the import of illegally logged products.
Indonesia will host a major UN climate change meeting in December on the resort island of Bali.