Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo attended a national commemoration of Indonesian Tree Planting Day (HMPI) 2014 and National Tree Planting Month (BMN) held in Tempursari village, Wonogiri District, Central Java, on Nov 29.
Some 37,000 tree seedlings were planted, including a teakwood tree by Jokowi and Magnolia alba, also known as the White Champaca, by First Lady Iriana Widodo, at the venue of the commemoration ceremony.
"Preserved Forests to Support Food Sovereignty, Water and Renewable Energy" was the theme of this years HMPI and BMN activities, according to Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya.
"We invite and encourage the public to preserve the ecosystem in order to improve the quality of the environment and to provide food, protect water and to obtain renewable energy," the minister explained about the theme.
The government has empowered inhabitants living surrounding forest areas to increase their income through community-based forestry programs, according to Nurbaya.
The government has so far allocated 328 thousand hectares for community forests, 318 thousand hectares for rural forests, 194 thousand hectares for peoples tree forests, and 280 thousand hectares for people partnership forests, that involve 3,700 community groups across the country.
Under the HMPI and BMN activities, some 1,3 billion trees were planted in 2010, 1.5 billion trees in 2011, 1.6 billion in 2012, and 1.8 billion in 2013. This year, some two billion trees were expected to be planted.
President Jokowi on the occasion presented awards to governors, district heads and mayors who came out as winners in a national "one billion tree planting" contest 2013.
Simultaneously, thousands of trees were also planted at various locations in Indonesia on the same day during the tree planting day/month commemoration.
In Batam, Riau Island Province, some 500 trees were planted by local officials, military personnel and students.
"Today, the tree planting activity is just a symbolic one, because, we have, in fact, planted trees throughout the year. Tree planting has many benefits," Head of the Batam maritime affairs, fishery an forestry office Suhartini said in Batam.
The local authorities have also planted trees to rehabilitate a protected forest measuring 915 hectares in Batam.
In West Papua Province, the local administration has planted a total of 200 thousand trees since January 2014, according to a local official.
The trees were planted as part of the provinces One Billion Tree Planting Movement activities, Hendrik Runaweri, head of the West Papua forestry and plantation office, said in the provincial capital of Manokwari.
The trees were planted in various districts and cities, in particularly in Remu protected forest in Sorong City and in mangrove forest located in Tambrauw District, he stated.
The movement was aimed at rehabilitating forest and arid areas to support food self-sufficient program in West Papua Province, he explained.
The provincial administration has also encouraged inhabitants of West Papua to plant trees as many as possible and to protect forest.
"Forest preservation can improve the quality of the environment, provide raw materials for the forestry industry and absorb carbon dioxide in the air, which will finally help mitigate the impacts of climate change," he stated.
Meanwhile, the State Enterprises (BUMN) Ministry has planned to plant 3,000 trees along the East Flood Canal located in eastern Jakarta.
"The BUMN ministry is committed to preserving the environment," BUMN Minister Rini Mariani Soemarno said in Jakarta, Sunday.
The trees will be planted along a four-km-long flood canal to help strengthen the soil construction and prevent abrasion.
"Today, some 800 trees are planted, and the remaining 2,200 trees will follow soon," the minister stated when observing HMPI and BMN 2014.
The trees will be monitored and taken care by PT Bakti Usaha Menanam Nusantara Hijau Lestari through the state enterprise Perhutani for three years to come, to make sure that they will grow well.
"BUMN is an agent of national development, so all state enterprises will help preserve the environment across the country," she added.
"Lets work, work and work as instructed by President Joko Widodo, to improve the performance and preserve the environment," she stated.
In line with the Presidential Decree No. 24/2008, the government had declared November 28 as the Indonesian Tree Planting Day (HMPI) and December as the National Planting Month (BMN).
In a ceremony organized in West Java, on December 8, 2009, the then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged the nation to plant 4 billion trees by 2020 and 9.2 billion trees by 2050.
"If we can plant at least half of what we have targeted, we can reduce carbon emissions by 46 billion, by 2050. The figure is indeed pessimistic, but if we can plant more trees, more CO2 can be captured, and this will be our contribution to the world," Yudhoyono noted.