Greenpeace launches Forest Defenders Camp in Indonesia

Forest Defenders Camp message: Save our Forests, Save our Climate

Press release - 9 October, 2007
Jakarta, 9 October 2007 - Greenpeace today opened the ForestDefenders Camp (FDC) in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, as part of its international effort to protect the world's remaining forests and the global climate prior to the Kyoto protocol climate negotiations taking place in Bali in December.

The deforestation rates in Indonesia are the highest amongst the world's major forest nations, (1) and according to recent estimates Indonesia is the country with the third largest greenhouse gas emissions after China and the United States, mainly due to the destruction of peatland forests. (2) Deforestation accounts for approximately one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. (3)

In collaboration with local communities in Riau, Greenpeace will bear witness and document the rampant destruction of the peatland forests in Riau. (4) Volunteers at the FDC will also engage in spotting and fighting forest fires, conduct peatland depth surveys and undertake a comprehensive assessment of biodiversity in the area.

Mr Ali Mursyid the community leader of Kuala Cenaku (village close to the FDC) made this statement at the opening of the camp. "Our people consider the forests a sacred inheritance from our ancestors and we have an obligation to protect it because it is our source of life. We are now trying to save our remaining forests at any cost and are committed to rehabilitating whatever others have destroyed."

The main camp structure, the Balai Adat, is a traditional Sumatran community meeting house located on community land. The area surrounding the camp has recently been cleared of forest and peatlands have been destroyed to make way for oil palm plantations.

The work and documentation undertaken over coming months will highlight the urgency of ending deforestation, preventing biodiversity loss and combating climate change in the run up to Indonesia hosting the next round of Kyoto Protocol negotiations in Bali in December.

"As we launch this initiative, the forests in Indonesia are being destroyed. This has to end. The Indonesian government must act and, before December's Kyoto Protocol meeting in Bali, commit to a moratorium on conversion and destruction of Indonesian peatland forests and ensure the implementation of an effective action plan against forest fires," said Hapsoro, Forest Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia who is currently at the forest camp.

Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to commit to a moratorium on deforestation and industrial logging; a review of laws, governance and law enforcement; and the implementation of a responsible and just land-use planning system.

"We need international action to end deforestation. Agreement on this must be included in the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol. Protecting the world's remaining forests will significantly reduce climate change, maintain the livelihood of millions of people who depend on forests and protect a huge amount of the world's biodiversity," said Sue Connor, Greenpeace International forests campaigner.

Taking action to reduce deforestation must be part of the 'Bali Mandate', which would establish the ambition, content, process and timetable for negotiating the next phase of international action against climate change due to be concluded by 2009.

Stabilising the world's climate depends on countries making deep cuts in their energy-related emissions and completely halting deforestation.

ENDS

Other contacts: Hapsoro, Greenpeace South East Asia forests campaigner is currently at the Forest Defenders Camp. Please call Greenpeace South East Asia media officer Chris Nusatya on +62 812 107 050 to arrange interviews.Sue Connor, Greenpeace International forests campaigner +62 8131 765 3644 (in Jakarta) Martin Baker, Greenpeace International communications officer +852 9014 5259 (in Jakarta) *Video available of recent deforestation and forest fires in Indonesia and FDC footage from Riau, Sumatra: Footage preview at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/video-previewsFor broadcast quality MPEG2 versions of these clips, please contact +31 6 5350 4721 in Amsterdam (GMT +1)For photos of **recent deforestation and forest fires in Indonesia and FDC: Michelle Thomas +61 404 096 556 (in Sydney)

VVPR info:

Notes: Forest defenders camp briefing available at:http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/forest-defenders-camp-briefing(1) FAO, Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005(2) Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) Version 4.0. (Washington,DC: World Resources Institute, 2007).(3) IPCC (intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), 2007. Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom andNew York, NY, USA.IPCC report available at:http://www.mnp.nl/ipcc/pages_media/AR4-chapters.html (see technical summary)(4) Data from the Pekanbaru-based environmental group Jikalahari show that between 1982 and 2005 the average rate of deforestation in Riau reached 160,000 hectares annually. The figure increased to 200,000 hectares per year in the 2004-2005 period. According to the data, total forest area in the province dropped significantly to 2.7 million hectares in 2004 from 6.4 million hectares in 1982.

Exp. contact date: 2007-11-08 00:00:00