Local children on a wooden raft surrounded by smoke from tropical rainforest on fire in Indonesia.
Indonesian forests are being destroyed faster than any other
major forested country, for logging and oil palm plantations.
This destruction has obvious, immediate consequences for the
unique plants, animals and people who call the Indonesian forests
home. These forests contain between 10 and 15 percent of all known
species of plants, mammals and birds that make up the world's
treasure chest of biodiversity. Orangutans, elephants, tigers,
rhinoceros, more than 1,500 species of birds and thousands of plant
species are all part of the country's natural legacy. But many of
these unique forest-dwelling animals, including the orangutan and
the Sumatran tiger, are on the brink of extinction.
While the loss of forests is bad enough, there's a double blow
for the environment from forest clearance in Indonesia. Beneath
most of this forest are thick layers of peat that lock up millions
of tones of carbon. Once the forest is cleared the peat swamp is
drained and often also burned to make the soil more suitable for
palm oil plantations. Burning of the forest and peat results in
huge amounts of greenhouse gases making Indonesia the world's third
largest climate polluter.
Brazil is the fourth largest climate polluter, with up to 75
percent of its emissions coming from land conversion and
deforestation mainly in the Amazon.
More emissions than transport
Globally deforestation and forest fires account for
approximately 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. That's
more emissions than the world's entire transport sector. If global
deforestation is left unchecked it will continue to accelerate the
rate of global warming.
This urgent global problem needs a global solution. We have
launched a Forest Defenders Camp on the boundary of forest clearing
in a region of Sumatra. In the coming weeks we'll be highlighting
scale of the destruction and who's responsible. But also in
Indonesia lies the start of that global solution.
Indonesia will be hosting the next round of international
climate talks in December. Governments from around the world will
gather in Bali to negotiate about extending the Kyoto Protocol, the
only international agreement containing legally-binding limits on
greenhouse gas emissions.
We aim to ensure that deforestation is included in the next
phase of the Kyoto agreement extending beyond 2012. The decisions
that governments make in the near future are critical for securing
the financing and capacity needed by countries to safeguard their
tropical forests and to allow them to make a serious contribution
to global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Stabilising the world's climate depends on countries agreeing to
deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from the energy and
industrial sectors and completely halting deforestation. And, above
all, ensuring that this is firmly written into the revised Kyoto
About the camp
Read more about our Forest Defenders Camp.
We don't accept money from governments or corporations -- and our financial independence is what allows us to pressure both. We rely on over 2 million people worldwide who give whatever they can. Please join us.