December 6, 2019

CIFOR slammed by authorities for premature analysis

JAKARTA ( - The Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry has concluded that the findings of an analysis published by CIFOR on the extent and distribution of the forests and land burned this year are premature. Furthermore, CIFOR’s decision to publish this analysis is considered irresponsible as it misleads the public.

This was the assertion conveyed by the Chief of the Forestry Research, Development and Innovation Agency at the ministry Agus Justianto, also a member of the Indonesian delegation at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference - COP 25 in Madrid, to (Dec 6).

The analysis posted by CIFOR (Dec 2) on its Forests News blog was is no longer accessible.

According to Justianto, CIFOR admitted in a clarification meeting (Dec 4) with the ministry team that the analysis was ongoing, unverified, and not validated. It has also yet to undergo a field verification, an important requirement in completing a satellite-based analysis.

"It’s clear as such that the publication of CIFOR's premature analysis to coincide with the COP 25 event was a move aimed at misleading the public," he said.

The following are photos taken during the clarification meeting attended by the ministry’s team, CIFOR representative Rogier Klaver and CIFOR associate David Gaveau. The meeting took place at the ministry building (Dec 4).

CIFOR breaks agreement

The forestry research authorities pointed out that CIFOR also violated an agreement with the MoEF by publishing a premature analysis without prior coordination and consultation with the ministry.

"In our letter to CIFOR (Dec 5), we asked them to withdraw the premature, misleading and irresponsible publication," Justianto stressed.

"CIFOR has not only failed to honor its agreement with the ministry, but it has also shown a lack of respect for credible research procedures as well as a lack of respect for itself," he added.

Justianto also said that he gave a stern warning to the CIFOR representative yesterday (Dec 5) at the COP conference about the inappropriateness of CIFOR's actions.

CIFOR’s reaction

To follow up on these comments from the Indonesian forestry research authorities, (Dec 6) requested a response from the Director General of CIFOR Robert Nasi.

Nasi answered in writing that “We sent the blog too early as we planned a scientific publication. Unfortunately, several people were traveling and there has been a miscommunication on our side.