Greenpeace exposes Government’s duplicity on Forests

Calls on Ministry of Forests to stop illegal land-banking practices

Feature story - August 6, 2008
Greenpeace today urged Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry to stop granting new palm oil concessions on forest land and revoke existing land permits with immediate effect to halt the ongoing forest destruction and help curb the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenpeace activists WORE two-faced masks to depict the Ministry’s duplicity, held saplings in one hand and chainsaws in another, to demonstrate how the government is on one hand facilitating forest destruction and on the other running tree planting drives on August 6th 2008. Greenpeace urged Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry to stop granting new palm oil concessions on forest land and revoke existing land permits with immediate effect to halt the ongoing forest destruction and help curb the country’s greenhouse gas emissions

Greenpeace activists hung a banner proclaiming "STOP DEFORESTATION" at the Ministry of Forestry building today, while other activists wearing two-faced masks to depict the Ministry's duplicity, held saplings in one hand and chainsaws in another, to demonstrate how the government is on one hand facilitating forest destruction and on the other running tree planting drives. 

"Greenpeace investigations have revealed that the forestry ministry has granted permits millions hectares of forest land for palm oil plantations, while Agricultural Ministry data shows that only a fraction has been cleared and planted for palm oil, " said Bustar Maitar, Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

"This is a clear case of the illegal 'land banking' practice of purchasing land with the intent to hold on to it until such a time as it is highly profitable to sell it on to others for substantially more than was initially paid. The law stipulates that a permit for a plantation concession may be revoked if the area is left unutilized for more 6 months", he added.

Tropical forest destruction is responsible for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the energy sector. Already Indonesia's rainforests are being destroyed faster than any other major forested country in the world making it the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet.

"The Forestry Ministry is currently part of the deforestation problem. The ministry as the state agency tasked with protecting the forests is in fact promoting forest destruction by giving away permits for forest conversion for millions of hectares of forests. This has to stop now, to arrest our greenhouse gas emissions, to ensure protection of our biodiversity for future generations", concluded Bustar.

Indonesia is also facing a recent increase in deforestation pushed by rising prices of commodities such as palm oil. The palm oil industry's rampant expansion into primary forests and peatlands is the main driver of Indonesia's deforestation and rise in greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Forestry Ministry has to be at the forefront of implementing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's commitment at the recent G8 meeting in Hokkaido, Japan, to halve Indonesia's greenhouse gas emissions from the forestry sector by 2009 (1). A moratorium on forest conversion is a prerequisite in order for this to happen.

(1) President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in his July 9th speech at the G8 Summit: "Indonesia, mindful of its responsibility as COP president, has designed a new energy mix that will reduce C02 emissions by 17 percent by 2025. Apart from that, we also aim to reduce emissions from the forestry sector by 50 percent in 2009, 75 percent in 2012 and 95 percent by 2025."

Support us!

To maintain its independence, Greenpeace accepts no donations from corporations or governments. We rely entirely on support from millions of people like you.

Categories