The activity on the forest wall which was launched from the
Greenpeace Forest Defenders Camp (FDC), comes on the heels of
Minister Anton Apriyanto's recent road show in Europe where he
reportedly proclaimed that protecting the environment is at the
heart of Indonesia's future plans for palm oil production and
companies caught destroying protected forests will be
"Despite the government rhetoric on forest protection, it is
clear that the destruction of our peatland forests in Kalimantan
and Sumatra especially for palm oil production goes on unhindered.
The conversion of forests into plantations not only destroy
valuable forests, but is also the main culprit behind Indonesia's
status as the third largest greenhouse gas polluter globally. In
the face of this destruction, government assurances of
sustainability sound empty and hollow," said Hapsoro, Greenpeace
Southeast Asia forests campaigner.
Greenpeace's Forest Defenders Camp is located near an oil palm
plantation in Riau where forest clearing and peat swamp draining
activities continue unabated (1). Simultaneous with the forest wall
activity, the group also started training local people from the
villages of Kuala Cenaku and Kuala Mulia, to empower the local
communities in fighting peat and forest fires. The FDC is part of
Greenpeace's international effort to protect the world's remaining
forests and the global climate, ahead of the United Nations climate
change conference in Bali in December.
Tropical peatlands have been created over tens of thousands of
years under peat swamp forests. As these forests die they form
large peat mounds, rich in the accumulated carbon of generations of
trees. Indonesia has 22.5 million hectares of peat soils, which is
12 per cent of Indonesia's land area and 83 per cent of South-east
Asian peatlands. It is estimated that Southeast Asia's peat soils
store 42 billion tonnes of carbon.
Greenpeace contends that current palm oil production in
Indonesia is far from becoming sustainable. The country's forests
are still being cleared mindlessly resulting in the destruction of
habitats of many endangered species, the displacement of local
communities and the release of vast amounts of greenhouse
"While forest protection appears to be high on the Indonesian
government's agenda especially on the lead-up to the most important
global meeting on climate change this year, the government must
match its rhetoric with decisive action, beginning with a
moratorium on this mindless conversion and destruction of our
peatland forests. It must act to protect the country's vast carbon
stores and ensure the implementation of an effective action plan
against forest fires," Hapsoro added.
In the longer-term the Indonesian government must act and 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.
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.
Notes to editors: (1) Volunteers at the FDC are also engaged in
spotting forest fires both on the ground and in the air through the
flying of paramotors, conducting further peatland depth surveys and
will undertake a comprehensive assessment of biodiversity in the