Saving Sumatra

Photo essay | October 29, 2010

During his recent visit to Indonesia, Kumi Naidoo (Greenpeace International Executive Director) and a Greenpeace team flew over Sumatra to bear witness to the forest destruction that is happening there. (See Below)

The story there is very similar to the one here in Africa.

The Congo Basin rainforest is the second largest in the world, and is crucial in our fight against climate change. 40 million people depend on the Congo Basin rainforest. The rain forest is also home for 270 species of mammals, including the endangered gorilla, the chimpanzee and the bonobo, as well as 39 unique species of animals that are only found here.

The problem is that the DRC government sees the forests as a vital source of revenue, and is encouraging industrial logging as a way to aleviate poverty and promote development. Predictions for future deforestation in Central Africa estimate that by 2050 forest clearance in the DRC will release a total of up to 34.4 billion tonnes of CO2 -- that's roughly equivalent to the UK’s CO2 emissions over the last sixty years!

At the moment, logging companies are cutting down trees over 50 million hectares of rainforest, or an area the size of France. A Greenpeace investigation reveals how these companies are guilty of bribing public servants, not paying taxes and bending the system to avoid getting caught. one of the worst offenders is the Danzer Group, a German-Swiss operation, which has been cheating the people fo the DRC our of millions by evading taxes.

The economics of deforestation are simple: the current deforestation is clearly unsustainable, and nor does it contribute to development or poverty aleviation. The forests are worth more as carbon stores than their wood is worth in whatever shape or form in European markets.

Emissions from deforestation are one of the main drivers of climate change. If we stop it and protect our forests through a globally funded system, we will not only create sustainable jobs for the people who live there, we’ll also help the world to breathe as we protect the climate.

Download: Forest for Climate Fact Sheet

During his recent visit to Indonesia, Kumi Naidoo (Greenpeace International Executive Director) and a Greenpeace team flew over Sumatra to bear witness to the forest destruction that is happening there.

 

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Photo Essay Credits

Photographs: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert
Story: Kumi Naidoo and Rolpf Skar
Production: Rebecca Summer