Greenpeace calls on Indonesian citizens to take action to safeguard the nation’s forests as Esperanza arrives in Manokwari

Feature story - October 17, 2008
Greenpeace ship Esperanza arrived this morning in Manokwari, West Papua, with new evidence of the mounting threat to Papua’s forests from palm oil expansion, logging and other drivers of deforestation. Greenpeace revealed its findings of deforestation activities, some illegal, which they witnessed during the first leg of the ‘Forest for Climate’ ship tour that launched last week.

Views of the rainforest near the village of Mokwam.

During our helicopter flyovers, in the past week we have seen the magnificent beauty of Indonesia's last frontier of intact forest and also witnessed illegal and increasing deforestation activities.

Evidence gathered during the trip includes clearing of sago and nipah forest south of Jayapura to make way for large scale palm oil plantations by palm oil giant Sinar Mas and, continuing illegal logging activities in the suspended logging concessions of PT Kaltim Hutama and PT Centrico in Kaimana, West Papua. 

The forests of Papua are are under heavy pressure from palm oil expansion, logging operations and other drivers of forest destruction. We all need to play our part in safeguarding Indonesia's forests and the global climate by calling on the Indonesian Government to declare a moratorium on deforestation now.

On arrival in Manokwari, Greenpeace launched an online petition to allow the public to participate in protecting their natural heritage and their future. The petition urges Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to declare an immediate moratorium, which will provide the breathing space necessary to work on plans to safeguard the future of these forests. (1)  Over 30,000 Indonesian citizens have already signed an offline petition.

Greenpeace embarked on the Indonesian leg of its "Forests for Climate" ship tour in Jayapura on 6 October, to shine the spotlight on the rampant destruction of the Paradise Forests - the last remaining ancient forests of Southeast Asia. 

It is crucial that the last remaining intact tracts of Indonesia's forest are protected in order to combat climate change, stop biodiversity loss and protect the livelihoods of forest-dependent peoples. This means an immediate moratorium on deforestation and international funding through the United Nations to protect forests for their carbon value.(2)

Deforestation releases around 20% of the world's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, contributing to dangerous climate change. Indonesia is currently the third largest contributor globally of GHG emissions (after the US and China), with most coming from deforestation. But instead of using forests to save the climate, government and industry continue deforestation, thereby exacerbating the climate crisis.

A moratorium will not only help curb the country's greenhouse gas emissions, but will also safeguard the wealth of tropical biodiversity and protect the livelihoods of forest dependent communities all across Indonesia.

The Esperanza, will leave Manokwari on Sunday en-route to Jakarta and will be in Indonesia until 15 November. Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to implement an immediate moratorium on all forest conversion, including expansion of oil palm plantations, industrial logging, and other drivers of deforestation.

(1) http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/en/Petition-for-Indonesia-forests (2) "Forests for Climate" initiative under the UNFCCC. See: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/forests_for_climate_brochure

Take Action!

Over 30,000 Indonesians have already signed up to become Forest Defenders Indonesia (FDI). Please join them in urging Indonesia’s President to declare an immediate moratorium on deforestation.