Indonesia poised for World Record as fastest destroyer of forests

Feature story - March 16, 2007
Indonesia destroys about 51 square kilometers of forests every day, equivalent to 300 football fields every hour -- a figure, which should earn the country a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's fastest destroyer of forests.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest campaigner; Hapsoro (R); holds official letter addressed to Guinness Book of World Records to nominate Indonesia as the country with the fastest rate of forest destruction worldwide and Solutions Forest Campainer; Bustar Maitar with Guiness Book on hand; during Greenpeace Indonesia's launching of the Forest Defenders campaign on March 16; 2007 at Jakarta's Independence Proclamation Monument.

High school students stand between banners calling to save Indonesia's last remaining forests during Greenpeace Indonesia's launch of the Forest Defenders campaign on March 16; 2007 at Jakarta's Independence Proclamation Monument.

High school students sign petition in support of saving Indonesia's last remaining forests during Greenpeace Indonesia's launching of the Forest Defenders campaign on March 16; 2007 at Jakarta's Proclamation Monument.

High school students stare at "fallen trees" cut down by Greenpeace activist dressed as a logger for a "happening art" performance symbolically depicting the alarming rate of Indonesian forest destruction during Greenpeace Indonesia's launching of the Forest Defenders campaign on March 16; 2007 at Jakarta's Independence Proclamation Monument.

A Greenpeace activist dressed as a logger chainsawed a 20-meter wooden wall symbolizing the Indonesian forests for a "happening art" symbolically depicting the alarming rate of Indonesian forest destruction during Greenpeace Indonesia's launching of the Forest Defenders campaign on March 16; 2007 at Jakarta's Independence Proclamation Monument.

Indonesia destroys about 51 square kilometers of forests every day, equivalent to 300 football fields every hour -- a figure, which should earn the country a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's fastest destroyer of forests.The group based this calculation on data from the UN Food &  Agriculture Organization's (FAO) recent 'State of the World's Forests  2007' report. According to the report, ten countries account for 80  percent of the world's primary forests, of which Indonesia, Mexico,  Papua New Guinea and Brazil saw the highest losses between 2000 and  2005.

"The exceptional and mind-boggling rate of forest destruction in  Indonesia qualifies it to enter the Guinness book of World Records  and join Brazil, which holds the current record for largest forest  areas destroyed worldwide," said Hapsoro, Greenpeace Southeast Asia  Forest Campaigner.

"These new figures demonstrate a lack of political will and power by  the Indonesian government a to stop Indonesia's runaway deforestation  rates. A series of natural disasters in recent years, floods, forest  fires, landslides, droughts, massive erosion are all linked to the  unprecedented destruction of our forests. Forest fires from  concessions and plantations have already made Indonesia the world's  third biggest contributor of greenhouse gases," Mr Hapsoro said.  To make its point, Greenpeace activists dressed as loggers, chain-sawed a 20-meter wooden wall symbolizing the Indonesian forests in ademonstration at the Proclamation Monument, Central Jakarta on  Friday. Greenpeace supporters, celebrities, politicians and musicians  participated in the activity.

     

According to the FAO, Indonesia's deforestation rate from 2000-2005  reached 1.8 million hectares/year. This rate is lower than the  official rate declared by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, of 2.8  million hectares/year. Indonesia is second only to Brazil which, with  3.1 million hectares lost per year, the FAO puts at the top of the  list for the largest deforestation area., However, since the  Indonesia's total forest area is much smaller than Brazil's, the  deforestation rate is higher. Indonesia's deforestation rate is 2%  every year, compared to Brazil's 0.6%

"We need a moratorium on commercial logging operations nationwide to  protect what is left of this fast diminishing resource. Public  pressure is needed to force the government to recognize the enormity  of this problem and to take action immediately. We are therefore  calling on the Indonesian people to join us as Forest Defenders(1)  and demand a stop to all large scale and destructive logging  activities responsible for wiping out our forests at such a fastrate," Mr Hapsoro said.

"The exceptional and mind-boggling rate of forest destruction in Indonesia qualifies it to enter the Guinness book of World Records and join Brazil, which holds the current record for largest forest areas destroyed worldwide."

Hapsoro

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner

"This record is something the people of Indonesia should not be proud  of, but it doesn't have to be this way. We take pride in many things  this country has to offer. It is after all the world's largest  archipelagic state with more than 18,000 islands. It supports the  world's second highest level of biodiversity, and is a critical  carbon sink for the planet. It is crucial now that the people of  Indonesia take action to pressure our government to stop this  destruction," he added.

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