Indonesia, which has destroyed vast tracts of forest, will plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Bali in December, an official said on Thursday.
The event, scheduled for November 28, is part of a global campaign to plant one billion trees launched at U.N. climate change talks in Nairobi last year, said Ahmad Fauzi Masud, spokesman for the forestry ministry.
“Everybody, residents and officials from the lowest unit of the government to the president, will take part in this movement,” he said. “It will be a national record and, possibly, a world record.”
Indonesia currently holds a far less flattering world record: according to Greenpeace, it had the fastest pace of deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, with an area of forest equivalent to 300 soccer pitches destroyed every hour.
Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is also among the world’s top three greenhouse gas emitters because of deforestation, peatland degradation, and forest fires, according to a recent report sponsored by the World Bank and Britain’s development arm.
Environmental groups are concerned that rapidly expanding palm oil plantations, partly driven by ambitious plans for biofuels, are damaging the country’s rainforests. Participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali in December to discuss a new deal to fight global warming. The existing pact, the Kyoto Protocol, runs out in 2012. Under Kyoto, about 35 rich nations are obliged to cut emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.