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  Yahoo News 9 Oct 07
Greenpeace aims to expose Indonesian forest destruction

10 Oct 07
Greenpeace Urges Indonesia to Stop Forest Destruction

Story by Adhityani Arga

JAKARTA - Indonesia must stop the destruction of its rainforests and commit to a moratorium on conversion of peat swamp forests into farmland, Greenpeace said on Tuesday.

Indonesia had the fastest pace of deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, destroying an area of forest the size of 300 soccer pitches every hour, according to the environment group.

The Greenpeace appeal came ahead of a UN climate change summit in December, where participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali to discuss a new deal to fight global warming. The existing pact, the Kyoto Protocol, runs out in 2012.

"The forests in Indonesia are being destroyed. This has to end," Hasporo, forest campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said in a statement.

"The Indonesian government must act and before December's Kyoto Protocol meeting in Bali, commit to a moratorium on conversion of peatland forests and ensure the implementation of an effective action plan for fire fighting and prevention."

The Indonesian government says it must be given incentives including a payout of US$5-$20 per hectare to preserve its forests. It also wants to negotiate a fixed price for other forms of biodiversity, including coral reefs.

Indonesia has a total forest area of more than 225 million acres (91 million hectares), or about 10 percent of the world's remaining tropical forests.

But the tropical Southeast Asian country -- whose forests are a treasure trove of plant and animal species including the endangered orangutans -- has already lost an estimated 72 percent of its original frontier forest.

As part of its efforts to save Indonesia's forests, Greenpeace launched a Forest Defenders Camp in Sumatra island's Riau province with some 40 "Forest Defenders" tasked with monitoring forest fires and gathering information on deforestation caused by palm oil and pulp wood plantations.

"Our people consider the forests a sacred inheritance from our ancestors and we have an obligation to protect it because it is our source of life," Ali Mursyid, a community leader from a Riau village, said in a statement.

Riau's total forest areas have plunged to 2.7 million hectares in 2004 from 6.4 million hectares in 1982, data from Greenpeace's local partner, Riau-based environment group Jikalahari, shows.

Greenpeace said companies continue to burn vast swathes of peat forests in Riau province for palm oil and pulp wood plantations despite a government ban, contributing to the annual haze that chokes the region.

Peat fires can rage for months in Riau, which is just across the Strait of Malacca from Singapore and Malaysia, and add to a choking smog of haze that is an annual health menace to millions of people in the region. _ylt=AlbuXiATxHV5eSfyiHc.rPzQOrgF

Yahoo News 9 Oct 07
Greenpeace aims to expose Indonesian forest destruction

Environmental activists Greenpeace said Tuesday they have sent dozens of activists to Sumatra to collect evidence of the continued destruction of Indonesia's fast-dwindling forests.

"We set up a forest defenders camp prior to a climate change conference in Bali (in) December to bring the global attention to the problem of forest destruction and deforestation in Indonesia," Greenpeace forest campaigner Sue Connor told reporters here.

Indonesia has been criticised for its failure to stem widespread illegal logging, which Greenpeace says has been responsible for the destruction of around two million hectares of forest per year between 2000 and 2005.

The group says that recent estimates show Indonesia is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States, mainly due to the destruction of its peatland forests.

Connor said Riau province on Sumatra was chosen as the focus of the campaign because of the massive destruction of its peatland forests to make way for oil palm plantations.

The group's activists will be assisted by local communities in spotting and fighting forest fires, conducting peatland depth surveys and undertaking a biodiversity assessment.

Connor said an agreement to end deforestation must be included in the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

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