Rainbow Warrior arrives in Jakarta with evidence of plunder of Indonesia’s last ancient forest

Feature story - April 20, 2006
Afrer a month-long ‘Forest Crime Patrol’ sailing on Indonesian waters the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, docks in Jakarta to highlight the crisis occurring in Indonesia’s last ancient forests.

Welcoming dance upon the arrival of the Rainbow Warror,the flagship of Greenpeace at the port of Manokwari,Papua today.

Activists from the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior unfurl a banner reading "Stop ancient forest destruction" in front of the ship MV Ardhianto as it is being loaded with a large consignment of plywood from some of the world's most endangered forests, the Paradise Forests of Asia Pacific.

The ship MV Ardhianto as it is being loaded with a large consignment of plywood from some of the world's most endangered forests, the Paradise Forests of Asia Pacific.

The Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, arrived in Jakarta today after about one month sailing on a 'Forest Crime Patrol' in Indonesian waters as part of a Greenpeace campaign to highlight the crisis occurring in Indonesia's last ancient forests. During its mission, activists on board the Rainbow Warrior gathered evidence of the ongoing plundering of the forests in Papua including large scale timber processing and shipping activities along the coast of Papua.

Greenpeace is in Indonesia at the invitation of the Ministry of Forestry. Last week Greenpeace sounded alarm that 25% forests of Papua have already been given out as concessions (1) to companies that export to Asia, the US and Europe. This follows the discovery of a consignment of plywood from some of the world's most endangered forests destined for Japan, Korea and the US (2).

"Large-scale commercial logging activities in the intact forest landscapes in Papua is thriving. The Indonesian government should put a stop to this, before a handful of companies wipe out the remaining intact forest in this country," said Hapsoro, Greenpeace Southeast Asia's forest campaigner.

"Until national and local forestry policies have been reviewed, proper landscape planning has been conducted and a significant increase in protected areas have been established, there should be a halt on industrial logging," he added.

Greenpeace recently released groundbreaking satellite maps which reveal that the world's forests are in critical condition(3). The maps provide evidence that less than 10% of the Earth's land area remains as large intact forest areas. It clearly also showed 25% of the forests in Papua have already been given away as concessions to logging companies which export timber products to Japan, US, EU and China.

Deforestation rates in Indonesia are among the highest in the world with at least 1.9 million hectares of forest destroyed every year for the last five years (4), equivalent to five football fields a minute. In total, Indonesia has already lost more than 72% of its large intact ancient forest areas and 40% of its forest have been completely destroyed (5).  Much of the logging in Indonesia is illegal and, according to Indonesia Forest Minister, Malam Sambat Kaban, "defrauds" the country of USD$ 4 billion each year (6).

Greenpeace is calling on governments in both timber producing countries, like Indonesia, and timber consuming countries, like China, Japan, US and the EU member states, to adopt strong measures to combat illegal and destructive logging and to establish a comprehensive network of protected areas around the world with effective law enforcement and management.

"Our remaining intact forest is under pressure from growing international demand for timber in Europe, USA, Japan and other developed countries. The Government of Indonesia together with other governments should seriously work together to put an end to the international trade in timber from illegal and destructive logging operations," said Hapsoro.

As well as exposing forest crimes, Greenpeace is working with communites in Papua and Papua New Guinea to set up responsible forestry initiatives. In Papua, Greenpeace hosted a forum that aims to build a network of communities working together on eco-forestry enterprises. On the other side of the island, meanwhile, Greenpeace volunteers from around the world have built a Global Forest Rescue Station in Lake Murray, Western Province, Papua New Guinea, where they are helping customary landowners mark the boundaries of their land, a first step towards protecting it from the logging industry and a basis for eco-forestry in the area.  

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.

For further information, please contact:

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner, Hapsoro: (m) +62 812 110 8256  

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Solutions Coordinator, Bustar: (m) +62 813 4460 6811

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Communications Officer, Nabiha Shahab: (m) +62 8131 421 3432   

(1) Total forest area in Papua is 39 million ha according to Forestry Planning Office. (2) Last week, activists on board the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior" discovered a consignment of 9,000 cubic metres of plywood, equivalent to 2,500 trees, from some of the world's most endangered forests, the Paradise Forests of Asia Pacific, and documented it being loaded onto a ship in the port of Sorong, Papua today. The timber is from the Henrison Iriana mill, a subsidiary of one of Indonesia's largest logging companies, Kayu Lapis Indonesia (KLI), and is destined for Japan, Korea and the US. At least 76% of logging in Indonesia, including in Papua province, is illegal (Forest Futures Scenario Analysis, NRM-Bappenas-MFP, Jakarta, October 2004) The stolen timber is sold on to milling operations, like KLI, in Indonesia or 'disappears' offshore to feed the global market. (3) www.greenpeace.org./intactforests (4) FAO. 2005. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005. FAO's definition of "forest loss" is, when canopy cover is less than 10%. In a tropical forest this may mean only 7 trees on the area the size of a football field. (5) World Resources Institute. 1997. The Last Frontier Forests (6) '10 regents in Kalimantan prosecuted for illegal logging' , The Jakarta Post, 5th December 2005

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