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Riau is a province of Indonesiamarker, located in the center of Sumatramarker island along the Strait of Malaccamarker. The provincial capital and largest city is Pekanbarumarker. Other major cities includes Dumaimarker, Bagansiapiapimarker, Bengkalismarker, Bangkinang, Rengat and Siak Sri Indrapuramarker.

Indonesian was based on the Riau version of Malay language.

Riau is one of the richest provinces in Indonesia. This province is rich with natural resources, particularly petroleum, natural gas, rubber, palm oil and fiber plantations.

The province was once heavily forested lowlands, but with palm oil plantations and logging being major industries it is losing around 2,000 square km of forest per year. In 2005 the forest cover was down to 33% (or 27.000 square km) from 78% (or 64.000 square km) in 1982.

Riau regularly suffers, however, from smoke and haze due to land-clearing fires for oil palm plantations during the two dry seasons a year that occur (late Jan - early March and again June - September). The fires occur because small - medium size business, community cooperation units (KUD's), and individual community members "slash and burn" the forest vegetation and replace it with oil palm and/or rubber plantations. "Slash & burn" land-clearing technques, which take several years to accomplish, require little "out-of-pocket" expense as compared to more rapid methods of land-clearing that use heavy equipment (excavators/bull-dozers) for clearing forest land. All of the fires are intentionally started and little effort is made by the individuals who ignite the fires to control them once they begin to spread beyond the intended bounds. Despite the numerous laws and local regulations against open burning, the land management agencies (Forestry, Estate Crops, Agriculture) and other government/police authorities have little capabilty to stop people from burning, to extinguish the numerous fires once they are started, and must therefore suffer with the smoke/haze until rains return. Fire is still viewed by the people and government officials as a useful and inexpensive tool for clearing land for oil palm (which is everyone's desire to own at least 2 hectares for financial security), despite the environmental impacts on forest destruction, air quality, green-house gas emissions and effects of smoke/haze on the health of children, elderly, and general population.

Being a province with a predominantly low relief, the coastal regions are rapidly losing land to the ocean.

The Riau Islandsmarker were part of Riau until 2004, when they were made into a separate province.

Since 1970's, the majority of Indonesia has been experiencing declining population growth. Riau has been a significant exception, with increasing rates every decade since 1970 to 4.35 percent annual rise for the 1990's. The provincial population is estimated to have passed the 2000 census population figure (which formerly included Riau Islandsmarker province), at 5,070,952 for 2007.

History



Regencies in Riau



Economy

The economy of Riau expanded faster (8.66% in 2006) than Indonesian average (6.04% in 2006). Thanks to mainly resource based economy, be it crude oil (600,000 bpd), palm oil and other forest products. Local government income benefit from greater share of revenue of tax (mainly crude oil) due to decentralization law in 2004.

Riau Indonesian

The dialect of Indonesian spoken in this region is considered by linguists as having one of the least complex grammars among the languages of the world (apart from creoles), possessing neither noun declensions, nor temporal distinctions, nor subject/object distinctions, nor singular/plural distinction. For example, the phrase Ayam makan (lit. 'chicken eat') can mean, in context, anything from 'the chicken is eating', to 'I ate some chicken', 'the chicken that is eating' and 'when we were eating chicken'. A possible reason for this is that Riau Indonesian has been used as a lingua franca for communication between different people in this area during its history, and extensive foreign-language use of this kind tends to simplify the grammar of a language used.

Riau Indonesian served as a basis for the modern national language, Indonesian, which however has extensive additional influence from Javanese, Chinese, Arabic, Dutch and English, among others.

References

  1. The Eleventh Hour for Riau's Forests
  2. BPS:Laju Pertumbuhan Penduduk menurut Provinsi
  3. BPS:Riau in Figures 2008
  4. Riau, Provinsi yang Maju Pesat



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