Indonesia extends forest-clearing ban for 2 years

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia has extended a landmark ban on clearing primary rainforests and peatlands for another two years, a move greeted by environmentalists with praise and skepticism.

Presidential environment adviser Pungki Agus Purnomo said Thursday that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (soo-SEE'-loh BAHM'-bahng yoo-doh-YOH'-noh) signed the decree to continue the 2011 moratorium, which barred new logging and palm oil plantation permits under a $1 billion deal with Norway.

Purnomo said the ban will preserve 64 million hectares (158 million acres). It will not affect areas where concessions were granted before the moratorium.

Environmentalists argue the government is not doing enough to fight corruption and protect areas from illegal fires and logging.

Indonesia has become one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters as it supplies the world with palm oil, pulp and paper.

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