Indonesian forests protection plan "important political shift" but tens of millions of hectares still face Axe

Press release - May 20, 2011
JAKARTA, 20 May 2011 --A long awaited plan to put a temporary halt to forest destruction in Indonesia does not go far enough and will still see tens of millions of hectares of forests facing destruction, warned Greenpeace.

The environmental campaigners did recognise, however, that the moratorium was “an important political shift”.

The moratorium puts a two-year halt to new logging areas in ‘primary’ forest, which contains areas untouched by humans, and areas containing peat, the destruction of which releases large amounts of climate changing pollution. Greenpeace have said that this does not go far enough, warning large areas of forests, including some of the last habitats of species like the orang-utan and the Sumatran tiger, have been left out.

According to Greenpeace, about 40 million hectares of forest could still be destroyed under the moratorium.

Reacting to today’s much anticipated plan, Bustar Maitar of Greenpeace, said:

“This moratorium represents an important political shift towards protecting our forests. But unfortunately, it doesn’t go far enough.

“Millions of hectares of forests will still be destroyed. And most of the areas included on the map are already protected, so the moratorium offers ‘little’ extra.

“In the forests, large scale destruction will continue as usual. This announcement is a long way from the Indonesian President’s commitment to protect Indonesia forests.”

Under today’s plan to halt forest and peatland destruction:

  • only new concessions to clear  forest will be suspended; the millions of hectares of forest already slated for destruction continue to be under threat;
  • degraded forests that are rich in biodiversity, or valuable for other conservation reasons are not protected;
  • peatlands, which store enormous quantities of climate changing carbon, remain vulnerable to destruction.

ENDS

Contacts:

Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace South East Asia, based in Jakarta: +62 813 4466 6135

Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace South East Asia, based in Jakarta: +62 812 2616 1759

Hikmat Suriatanwijaya, Greenpeace South East Asia, based in Jakarta: +62 8111805394

Niall Bennett, Greenpeace communications, based in London: +44 7717 704 577

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