Greenpeace activists work with locals to halt drainage by constructing dams on the peatland canals. This will prevent the peatland from drying out and releasing carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
Destroying the forest there would not only breach Indonesian
regulations for forest protection, and an Indonesia's Presidential
decree, but would also lead to the release of large quantities of
Thick layers of peat underlie most of Indonesia's swamp forest.
Over time, the peat layer has locked up millions of tonnes of
carbon. Once forests are cleared, peat swamps are drained and
decompose to release the stored carbon as carbon dioxide. Forests
are often also burned, prior to the planting of palm oil saplings,
further compounding the climate problem.
Such is the scale of forest destruction across Indonesia that
the huge amounts of greenhouse gases being emitted have made the
country into the world's third largest climate polluter, behind the
US and China.
More than 30 volunteers will work for a week with people from
the nearby village to construct the dams. By halting drainage
operations, the dams will prevent the peatland from drying out and
releasing carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas. The dams will
also prevent the palm oil company from illegally burning the
currently waterlogged peatland, which would otherwise further add
to global warming.
"Palm oil companies are breaking the law and draining the very
life out of Indonesia's remaining peatland forests," said Hapsoro,
Greenpeace South East Asia forest campaigner. "And they are adding
substantially to the problem of global warming."
The damming is taking place on a plantation held by the PT Duta
Palma company. Our on-site investigations of the peatlands,
conducted from the
Forest Defenders Camp in Riau, and together with peatland
experts, have brought to light the flagrant violations of
regulations intended to protect these areas.
Exposing the destruction:
This urgent problem needs a global solution. We have set up the
Forest Defenders Camp on the boundary of forest clearing in a
region of Sumatra.
Check out life at the camp and why it's there:
about the camp and
updates on their weblog.
In addition to efforts to highlight and halt peatland forest
destruction in this one particular area, we are also attempting to
promote long-term solutions to deforestation in Indonesia.
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.
We know it is possible to keep the worst impacts of climate
change - such as extreme weather events, water crises and increased
hunger - from putting millions of people at risk.
This will take a revolution in the way we use and produce energy, and a strong commitment to halt deforestation worldwide. More governments need to commit to tougher emissions reduction targets in the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.
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