JAKARTA (foresthints.news) – Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Dr Siti Nurbaya, has declared her appreciation for the good intentions and sincerity of Leonardo DiCaprio after the Oscar-winning actor expressed his concerns that the home range of some key wildlife species continues to be reduced by the expansion of palm oil plantations in the Leuser Ecosystem.
DiCaprio took to Instagram to convey his concerns on the issue, having just concluded a fleeting visit to the Gunung Leuser National Park and its ecosystem (Mar 27).
“My view is that DiCaprio’s concerns are both sincere and substantial, and he has certainly acted in good faith. In fact, we largely share his concerns on this matter. In light of this and to reciprocate his sincerity and good intentions, I am open to working together with DiCaprio in a joint effort whereby both of us can have our concerns addressed, including those that pertain to the Leuser Ecosystem,” the minister told foresthints.newsin an exclusive interview on Saturday (Apr 2), on the sidelines of a three-day discussion on Indonesian climate change programs and their implementation which she is leading from April 1-3.
The minister added that she had reviewed all the procedures related to DiCaprio’s time in Indonesia, and especially his visit to the Gunung Leuser National Park, and found nothing untoward in the film star’s conduct.
“There was even an official from my ministry serving in the province who accompanied DiCaprio on his visit, in particular when he went to see the orangutans in the Gunung Leuser National Park. It’s really not relevant to link the concerns conveyed by DiCaprio with immigration matters,” the minister affirmed.
Nevertheless, the minister did express her regret that DiCaprio had not taken the time to obtain more comprehensive information and data from the ministry, especially as pertain to the chronology of deforestation and the efforts being made in this respect by the Jokowi administration.
“For example, there are about 700 thousand hectares of palm oil plantations which we have categorized as encroaching on forest areas, thereby disrupting ecological functions and wildlife habitats. Indeed, we are currently reviewing this issue in detail,” the minister explained.
Asked by foresthints.news about DiCaprio’s concerns relating to the revision of the Aceh spatial plan, the minister unhesitatingly replied that she had no problem with such concerns being raised as long as the revision process was carried out in line with procedures, and the revised plan offered good solutions, including for sustainable community livelihoods.
“We require solutions that can be adopted on the ground. Our main concern is to create a balance within the Leuser Ecosystem. To this end, the protection of lowland forests to preserve wildlife habitats in this ecosystem must be weighed against our concerns about sustainable community livelihoods,” the minister continued.
The minister was also quick to point out that DiCaprio would certainly be aware that his concern about protecting key wildlife habitats in the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape had been properly addressed by the Jokowi administration.
“It was the current government that issued an Ecosystem Restoration license with a view to supporting an improved home range for key wildlife species there. Unfortunately, part of this concession also suffered forest fires last year. This is one of the reasons why I said we need good solutions which are based on the ground.”
Siti Nurbaya concluded the interview with foresthints.news by saying that she would be visiting UN Headquarters on the 20th of April for climate change matters.
“Who knows, if DiCaprio is around New York when I’m at the UN Headquarters, perhaps we can catch up over a cup of coffee. I would take the opportunity to explain to him in greater detail about the efforts being undertaken by the Jokowi administration to address climate change issues,” the minister said smilingly.
The minister was also keen to clarify that DiCaprio would not be deported if he ever came to Indonesia again to voice his concerns or as part of a joint effort aimed at the protection of the country’s wildlife habitats.