Greenpeace launches rescue station to protect rainforest 'Paradise'

Press release - 2006-02-28
Greenpeace today launched a major initiative to help protect Asia Pacific's last remaining ancient rainforests - the so-called 'Paradise Forests' (1) - by unveiling its Global Forest Rescue Station in a remote part of Papua New Guinea.

Trogonoptera brookiana birdwing butterfly.

Greenpeace launches a major initiative to help protect the Asia Pacific's last remaining ancient rainforests - the so-called 'Paradise Forests' - by unveiling its Global Forest Rescue Station in a remote part of Papua New Guinea.

Men attend a community meeting about forest issues. Greenpeace launches a major initiative to help protect Asia Pacific's last remaining ancient rainforests - the so-called 'Paradise Forests' - by unveiling its Global Forest Rescue Station in a remote part of Papua New Guinea.

Greenpeace volunteers Klaas Heindricus De Jong (2nd R) of the Netherlands, and Florian Asis Schultz of Germany (R) are aided by local foresters from Foresters and People's community Development as they help mark the territorial boundaries of the Cuscus clan lands on the banks of Lake Murray.

Greenpeace Global Forest Rescue Station on the banks of Lake Murray. Greenpeace launches a major initiative to help protect Asia Pacific's last remaining ancient rainforests - the so-called 'Paradise Forests' - by unveiling its Global Forest Rescue Station in a remote part of Papua New Guinea.

Map of Paradise Forests

Liu Bing, a Greenpeace China campaigner, called for efforts to save the Paradise Forests.

"Papua New Guinea's Kuni tribe has invited Greenpeace to set up this 'Global Forest Rescue Station' on their land. It will be a base to fast-track boundary marking the tribe's territories to save them from the logging industry and to showcase eco-forestry initiatives to the world," said Greenpeace Australia Pacific's Chief Executive Officer, Steve Shallhorn.

Greenpeace volunteers from around the world will live and work alongside local landowners and eco-forestry trainers at the Global Forest Rescue Station, sited at Lake Murray in Western Province. They will help three Lake Murray tribes establish their rights over approximately 300,000 hectares of tribal territories by identifying, marking out and mapping their boundaries. This will help them protect the forests from destructive and illegal logging.

The launch was heralded by the arrival in Port Moresby of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, which received a traditional welcome by tribal groups and landowners.

Ken Mondiai, Head of the EcoForestry Forum, a network of environment groups working with Greenpeace, said: "We are honoured to welcome the Rainbow Warrior to mark the beginning of this exciting new approach to eco-forestry in Papua New Guinea.

Kuni clan leader, Sep Galeva, said:  "We want to say no to loggers who come in and destroy everything. We want to do small scale logging by the landowners in a way that is sustainable and environment friendly."

The Paradise Forests are being logged faster than any other on Earth. In Papua New Guinea, less than one per cent of them have any form of protection and more than a quarter of a million hectares of primary forest are destroyed each year. Globally, an area of ancient forest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every two seconds to grow products like soya for animal feed or to make products like toilet paper, wooden flooring and plywood.

"This new initiative is part of a global effort to protect the world's last ancient forests (2). Unless action like ours in Papua New Guinea is taken worldwide, vast numbers of species of plants and animals will become extinct, rainfall patterns will be disrupted and the global climate will change even faster than it is now," said Greenpeace Asia Pacific Chief Executive Officer, Steve Shallhorn.

After Port Moresby, the Rainbow Warrior will sail on "Forest Crime Patrol" to draw attention to ongoing illegal logging across the entire region and to promote sustainable forestry.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation, which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions essential to a green and peaceful future. It is committed to protecting the world's last ancient forests and the people and animals that depend upon them.

Info:

To view weblogs visit: www.greenpeace.org/paradiseforests

For images of the Paradise Forest, the arrival of the Rainbow Warrior to Port Moresby or the Global Forest Rescue Station:

In Europe:
Photos - Franca Michienzi, Greenpeace International, +31 6538 19255
Video -Michael Nagasaka, Greenpeace International, +31 646 166 309

In Papua New Guinea:
Michelle Thomas, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, +675 321 5954

Notes:

(1) The Paradise Forests stretch from South East Asia, across the islands of Indonesia and on towards Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific.
(2) The Global Forest Rescue Station is part of the Greenpeace campaign to highlight the crisis faced by the forests and oceans in Asia Pacific and the rest of the world. In the lead up to the Summit for Life on Earth, the meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity which begins on March 20th in Brazil, Greenpeace is calling on governments to establish a comprehensive network of protected areas around the world with effective law enforcement and management.

Categories