Industrial logging threat looms large over rainforest Eden

Greenpeace reveals plans to destroy New Guinea Island's forests

Press release - 13 April, 2006
A new detailed map (1) - released by Greenpeace and Forest Watch Indonesia today - reveals plans to cut down as much as 35% (29 million hectares) of New Guinea Island's rainforest, the 'Eden' where scientists recently discovered a host of new species (2).

Close-up of the anoectochilus 'Jewel Orchid'.

The environmental organisations have collated and mapped government logging concessions in the Paradise Forests of Asia Pacific (3). The new map shows that 24% of Papua's forests and as much 46% of Papua New Guinea's (PNG) forests have already been sold as concessions to logging companies, which export tropical timber to feed demand for cheap wood in Japan, US, EU and China.

"These are some of the most biologically rich forests in the world but a handful of logging companies (4) are wiping them out faster than any other on Earth. Unless the Indonesian and PNG Governments stop selling off these precious forests they, and the incredible diversity of life they support, will be decimated over the next few years," said Emmy Hafild, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Much of the large, intact forest landscapes in the Paradise Forests have already been cut down -- 72% in Indonesia and 60% in PNG. New Guinea Island has the largest remaining area of intact forest in Asia Pacific, but it is not adequately protected.

"To save these threatened rainforests, the Papua and PNG governments must cancel the logging concessions immediately, review their forest policies and permanently protect large areas of the rainforest," said Hafild.

Today's map is based on a Greenpeace world map made using groundbreaking satellite technology. The map reveals that forests are in critical condition worldwide and that less than 10% of the Earth's land area remains as large intact forest areas. (5)  

Greenpeace has launched a project in Papua to set the stage for eco-enterprises that will help protect what is left of the largest intact, pristine forest in the region. It has also set up a Global Forest Rescue Station in the forests of PNG, where volunteers are working with landowners and other environment groups to protect the forests from illegal and destructive logging.

Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, is arriving in Jakarta on April 22,

2006 to continue on its mission to protect the Paradise Forests from illegal and

destructive logging.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions essential to a green and peaceful future. It is committed to protecting the world's last ancient forests and the people and animals that depend upon them.

Other contacts: Arthur Jones Dionio, Greenpeace Southeast Asia communications officer in Jakarta: +62 852 196 52330

Notes: Join the march to protect the Paradise Forests on: see the map of New Guinea Island's forests and logging concessions on: user: photos password: green (under stills, and folder: papua and png concession maps)(2) Conservation International, February, 2006. Scientists Discover Dozens of New Species in "Lost World" of Western New Guinea. The Paradise Forests stretch from Southeast Asia, across the islands ofIndonesia and on towards Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in thePacific.(4) Most of the rainforests are logged by just a few Indonesian and multinational logging companies, such as Kayu Lapis Indonesia, Korindo Group (Korea, Indonesia), Barito Pacific (UK, Indonesia), Djajanti Group (Indonesia), PT Hanurata (Indonesia) and PT Wapoga Mutiara Timber (subsidiary of Rimbunan Hijau, Malaysia). In Papua New Guinea, Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Hijau, controls almost 50% of log exports from the country, and Malaysian companies control over 80% of the trade.(5)

Exp. contact date: 2007-04-13 00:00:00