Indonesia Merges Environment and Forest

October 28, 2014 Updated: October 28, 2014

Indonesia’s newly elected president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has merged the country’s ministries of forestry and environment into a single entity and installed a woman at its head. 

On Sunday, Jokowi officially appointed Siti Nurbaya Bakar, a long-serving bureaucrat who last year become a politician, as the Forestry and Environment Minister. The move is significant because it combines two agencies that have lacked much in the way of coordination in recent years. 

Historically, the Ministry of Forestry has been one of the most powerful agencies in Indonesia, controlling more than half of the country’s land mass. It has been widely criticized for Indonesia’s poor forest management and high rate of forest loss. The Ministry of Environment has been very weak comparatively. 

It wasn’t immediately clear how the reshuffling will impact forest management and governance in Indonesia, which in 2012 had to highest rate of forest loss in the tropics. 

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