Greenpeace launches rescue station to protect rainforest 'Paradise'

Press release - 28 February, 2006
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.

"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 tofast-track boundary marking the tribe's territories to save them fromthe logging industry and to showcase eco-forestry initiatives to theworld," said Greenpeace Australia Pacific's Chief Executive Officer,Steve Shallhorn.

Greenpeace volunteers from around the world will live and workalongside local landowners and eco-forestry trainers at the GlobalForest Rescue Station, sited at Lake Murray in Western Province. Theywill help three Lake Murray tribes establish their rights overapproximately 300,000 hectares of tribal territories by identifying,marking out and mapping their boundaries. This will help them protectthe forests from destructive and illegal logging.

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

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

Kuni clan leader, Sep Galeva, said:  "We want to say no to loggerswho come in and destroy everything. We want to do small scale loggingby the landowners in a way that is sustainable and environmentfriendly."

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 ofprotection and more than a quarter of a million hectares of primaryforest are destroyed each year. Globally, an area of ancient forest thesize of a football pitch is destroyed every two seconds to growproducts like soya for animal feed or to make products like toiletpaper, wooden flooring and plywood.

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

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

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation, which usesnon-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmentalproblems, and to force solutions essential to a green and peacefulfuture. It is committed to protecting the world's last ancient forestsand the people and animals that depend upon them.

Other contacts: Carolin Wenzel, Greenpeace Australia Pacific media officer (based in Papua New Guinea) +675 321 5954 or mobile +675 690 4026Steve Shallhorn, Executive Director, Greenpeace Australia Pacific (based in Papua New Guinea) mobile +675 690 4026Stephen Campbell, Greenpeace Australia Pacific forests campaigner (based in Papua New Guinea), on mobile +675 683 3706Gavin Edwards, Greenpeace International forests campaign co-ordinator (based in Europe), on +31 652 39 1429

VVPR info: To view weblogs visit: 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 19255Video -Michael Nagasaka, Greenpeace International, +31 646 166 309In Papua New Guinea:Michelle Thomas, Greenpeace Australia Pacific, +675 321 5954

Notes: Notes to Editors:(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.

Exp. contact date: 2007-02-28 00:00:00