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Jakarta Faces Climate Crisis by Strengthening Tree Protection

A report by Verisk Maplecroft, a global research institute in the environmental sector, reveals that Jakarta ranks first out of 100 cities predicted to be most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis. Several pieces of evidence of Jakarta’s vulnerability to the impact of the climate crisis are the massive floods that occurred in early 2020, extreme weather, and the increasing temperature. In addition, there is also the danger of rising sea levels, which have increased by approximately three meters in the last 30 years. Combined with land subsidence, this will be a disaster for Jakarta if no mitigation measures are taken.

One way to mitigate the climate crisis is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide emissions, produced from our daily activities both on a personal and industrial scale, have proven to be one of the drivers of the climate crisis.

The Jakarta government has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in 2030. Several things have been done to achieve this, such as improving the public transportation system, improving waste management at source, developing alternative energy, and implementing a nature-based solution approach by managing and protecting trees.

Research has proven that trees are one of the most effective carbon sinks and storage, although trees are only a small part of the effort to address the climate crisis. In addition, the trees in the city can also help reduce air pollution, reduce city temperature, support water management, and provide a recreational space for city residents. Other studies found that the availability of trees in the city can affect the urban communities’ level of happiness.

The DKI Jakarta Government is collaborating with WRI Indonesia through the Cities4Forests programto create more suitable and efficient nature-based solutions. One of the outcomes was the issuance of Governor Regulation No.24/2021 on Tree Management and Protection, which was ratified on Earth Day, 22 April 2021. The regulation stipulates the process of managing and protecting trees to ensure planned, systematic, and data-based implementation so the impact on climate change management can be more measurable.

Tree Database Innovation and Planting First Scheme

The most important and innovative part of the Governor Regulation is the establishment of a tree database that will serve as the basis for tree management and protection. This means that the DKI Jakarta government considers trees to be public assets that need to be preserved.

Some of the data contained in this database are: tree types, number of trees, tree locations, tree identities, utility network information placed/crossing the tree location, and tree land and spatial planning information. All of this data will be integrated and published on the official portal of the DKI Provincial Government.

The DKI Provincial Government can use this database to carry out analysis related to the distribution of tree locations in DKI Jakarta, the identity of trees as public assets (species, health, geo-tags, etc.), calculation of the absorption capacity of carbon and other pollutants, as well as the suitability of tree species with its environment. Furthermore, the DKI Jakarta Government will produce a minimum of three tree management plans, namely: tree planting and maintenance plan, tree protection plan, and tree utilization plan. These three plans will play a very crucial role in Jakarta's urban planning to be resilient against the climate crisis.

In addition, the ecological value and benefits of all tree assets in Jakarta, both in private and public locations, can also be calculated – its monetary value can even be established. This allows a more measurable tree management scheme. For example, if a tree needs to be cut down because it is old or may harm residents, the DKI Provincial Government can calculate how much it will cost to replace and maintain the replacement tree for the next three months to ensure that the tree grows well. These replacement trees will also be planted beforehand to ensure that the number of trees in Jakarta will continue to increase and the community can benefit from the trees.

To prevent illegal logging, spatial monitoring of tree replacements will be carried out. Monitoring is carried out by providing tree identity numbers supported by information on planting locations and tree species to ensure that the data for each tree is in accordance with the initial provisions. This data will be included in the spatial information for trees.

Other efforts carried out in this regulation are inventory of tree management issues, routine tree maintenance, information dissemination on the importance of trees to the community and government agencies, as well as taking action against the perpetrators of tree destruction in accordance with statutory provisions.

The commitment of the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government was also reiterated by the Head of the City Parks and Forest Office, Mrs. Suzi Marsitawati, “With this policy, an additional 200,000 trees are targeted to be fulfilled by 2022. This is also in line with what Governor Anies Baswedan said at the C40 online meeting before the United Nations Secretary General.”

The Director of the Yayasan Kota Kita, Ahmad Rifai, warmly welcomed the issuance of this policy. He said that efforts to manage and protect trees are an important step and the community must be actively involved in the government’s tree protection efforts.

Through a breakthrough in this regulation, tree management and protection in Jakarta will be carried out in a planned, systematic, and data-based manner so its impact on addressing climate change can be more measurable, thus making Jakarta more resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis and protecting its residents from disasters.

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