Forests for Climate Tour lands in Indonesia

Feature Story - 2008-10-08
Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, has started the Indonesian leg of its "Forests for Climate" tour, shining the spotlight on the rampant destruction of Southeast Asia's Paradise Forests.

A group of Papuanese traditional dancers greets the Esperanza during a welcoming ceremony at Jayapura port.

The Esperanza arrived in Jayapura, in the Indonesian province of Papua, to an energetic welcome from traditional dancers, and local dignitaries - including the mayor of Jayapura.

"Forests for Climate" is also the name of our landmark proposal for an international funding mechanism to protect tropical forests.

The route

The Esperanza will tour Indonesia starting with the provinces of Papua and West Papua, which represent Indonesia's last frontier of intact ancient forests.

Over the next six weeks, the ship will be touring the archipelago to document the threats facing the forests of Papua and Sumatra as well as the companies and politicians responsible.

We will be highlighting the short and long-term solutions to the crisis so these forests can be permanently protected.

The Esperanza has just wrapped up a six-week tour of neighbouring Papua New Guinea.

Check out our Greenpeace map documenting the personal and environmental impacts of logging in the ancient Paradise Forests.

The forests of Papua

As one half of the remote and mountainous New Guinea island, Papua contains the largest area of remaining forest in Indonesia.

The Bornean forests of Sumatra and Kalimantan are so ravaged that Papua's forests are really the last frontier.

The region is home to hundreds of distinct tribes and clans with a corresponding range of cultural diversity, and for biodiversity is second to none, with animals and plants new to science being recorded on a regular basis.

Climate change and forests

The forests are also vitally important when it comes to climate change.

Not only do the trees and soil act as huge carbon stores, cutting them down also releases that carbon in the form of greenhouse gases.

Indonesia is the third largest emitter on the planet, largely due to deforestation and its forests are disappearing faster than anywhere in the world.

It's crucial that we save Papua's forests.

Solutions

Greenpeace is suggesting placing a moratorium on all deforestation across Indonesia.

This will provide the breathing space necessary to work on plans to safeguard the future of these forests.

The Indonesian government is the one to lay down a moratorium, but it also needs the palm oil industry to provide ministers the space to do so.

Following the victory with our Dove campaign earlier this year, we have been working with companies such as Unilever to build a coalition in favour of an immediate moratorium on forest conversion for palm oil and insisting their palm oil suppliers do not clear further forests.

We need to act NOW.

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