Indonesian Forests Protection Plan “Important Political Shift” but Tens of Millions of Hectares Still Face Axe

Press release - May 20, 2011
Along awaited plan to put a temporary halt to forest destruction in Indonesia does not go far enough and will still see tens of millions of hectares of forests facing destruction, warned Greenpeace.

The environmental campaigners did recognise, however, that the moratorium was “an important political shift”.

The moratorium will put a two-year halt to new logging areas on ‘primary’ forest, which contains areas untouched by humans, and areas containing peat, the destruction of which releases large amounts of climate changing pollution. But Greenpeace have said that this does not go far enough, and large areas of forests, including some of the last habitats of species like the orang-utan and the Sumatran tiger, have been left out.

According to Greenpeace, about 40 million hectares of forest could still be destroyed under the moratorium.

Reacting to today’s much anticipated plan, Bustar Maitar of Greenpeace, said:

“This moratorium represents an important political shift towards protecting our forests. But unfortunately, it doesn’t go any further.

“Millions of hectares of forests will still be destroyed. And most of the areas included on the map are already protected, so the moratorium offers ‘little’ extra.

“In the forests, large scale destruction will continue as usual. This announcement is a long way from the Indonesian President’s commitment to protect Indonesia forests.”

Under today’s plan to halt forest and peatland destruction:

  • only new concessions to destroy forest will be suspended; the millions of hectares of forest already slated for destruction continue to be under threat;
  • degraded forests that are rich in biodiversity, or valuable for other conservation reasons are not protected;
  • peatlands, which store enormous quantities of carbon, remain vulnerable to destruction.

Contacts:

Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace South East Asia, based in Jakarta: +62 813 4466 6135
Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace South East Asia, based in Jakarta: +62 812 2616 1759
Hikmat Suriatanwijaya, Greenpeace South East Asia, based in Jakarta +62  815 878 1544