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Indonesia | Government order could result in massive conversion of protected forest to farmland

JAKARTA — Indonesia’s dwindling forests may be cleared for farmland under a government-led program to boost domestic food production, raising fears of a surge in deforestation.

The government’s “food estate” program calls for establishing millions of hectares of new farmland, mostly for rice and other staple crops. To ensure there’s sufficient land for the program, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry issued a regulation on Oct. 26 permitting protected forest areas to be cleared for that purpose on a “large scale.”

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