Borneo Rainforest and Orangutans under threat

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
ACTION ALERT FORWARD WIDELY!

Oil Palm Threatens Indonesia's Rainforests and Orangutans

By Rainforest Portal, project of Ecological Internet, Inc.
http://www.rainforestportal.org/
February 20, 2006

TAKE ACTION
Chinese funded development a ploy to access rainforest timbers,
will devastate Borneo's biodiversity and largest remaining wild
orangutan population

http://www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=indonesia

Indonesia plans to cut a 2,000 kilometer long, five kilometer
wide swathe through one of the world's largest remaining areas
of pristine rainforest to create a massive oil palm plantation.
The project would destroy two million hectares of ancient
rainforest in Kalimantan, traversing almost the entire border
with Malaysia, and slicing through three national parks. These
remote rainforests on the island of Borneo are home to countless
species of rare birds, plants and mammals including the largest
remaining wild orangutan population. This Chinese-funded
"agricultural development" is almost certainly a thinly veiled
ruse to access timber. Indonesia has huge land areas of
abandoned, unproductive palm oil plantations and degraded forest
areas that would be suitable for oil palm development. Palm oil
plantations - which completely clear the rainforests and are
biologically depauperate - are the number one enemy of
orangutans. Orangutans need vast areas of interconnected forest
to survive, and this ill-conceived project would speed up their
extinction. Let the Indonesian President know he must cancel the
Kalimantan project, and that new oil palm plantations should be
built only in previously cleared and unused areas. Note your
protest emails are going to nine addresses, please inform us if
some start to bounce. Please take action now at
http://www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=indonesia
 

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
PLEASE SEND & FORWARD ORANGUTAN ALERT AGAIN, NEW TARGET

LIST UPDATE: Clearly we are making Indonesian oil palm's threat
to rainforests and orangutans a major issue. I have never seen
such a massive response to an alert, as our orangutan conservation
friends have swelled our ranks. Our tens of thousands of protest
emails have caused the Indonesian government to close the Prime
Minister's public email account. We are reissuing the alert,
addressing it now to the Minister of Agriculture whose
department is the prime proponent of the project. We have also
added over a dozen new email addresses. Send and forward the
alert again, expressing outrage at the wholesale clearance of
this pristine rainforest wilderness for plantation agriculture
 

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
Great news!

VICTORY
***********************************************
FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY
Indonesia Halts Oil Palm Plans in Orangutan Habitat
Heart of Borneo to Be Protected
***********************************************
Rainforest Portal a project of Ecological Internet, Inc.
http://www.rainforestportal.org/ -- Rainforest Portal
http://www.rainforestportal.org/news/ -- Rainforest Newsfeed
http://www.rainforestportal.org/donate/ -- Donate

March 28, 2006
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Rainforest Portal

Bowing to unrelenting pressure from Ecological Internet and
others, the Indonesian government has abandoned plans to destroy
1.8 million hectares of rainforest by establishing an oil palm
plantation in prime orangutan habitat. This is a MAJOR
RAINFOREST VICTORY for which our rainforest network - and the
several hundred thousand protest emails we generated - is
largely responsible!

Further the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei have
announced plans to protect "the Heart of Borneo" - establishing
a massive trans-boundary protected area. The initiative will
preserve rather than develop for oil palm plantations one of the
most important centers of biological diversity in the world,
including approximately 220,000km2 of equatorial forests and
numerous wildlife species. The Heart of Borneo harbors up to six
percent of the world’s total biodiversity.

Ecological Internet's network is on a roll! In the past month
our Forests.org and Rainforest Portal projects have been
instrumental in protecting millions of hectares of rainforest.
Our years of advocacy have contributed substantially to massive
new protected areas in the Amazon, we took the lead in
successfully organizing Internet protest which has delayed the
World Bank's plans to subsidize rainforest logging in the Congo,
and now this marvelous Borneo rainforest conservation
achievement.

This "hat trick" of three victories in the Amazon, Congo and
Indonesia in one month makes us the most effective rainforest
conservation network in existence. We are regularly
demonstrating large areas of ancient forests can be protected
without kowtowing to and permitting industrial logging. After
much hard work and warranted despair, let us rejoice and be
happy.

Never, ever doubt that a small group of highly connected people
with good hearts and strategic, accurate information can make
giant strides towards global ecological sustainability. Together
we are doing it all the time!
g.b.

To Comment on this Article:
http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2006/03/indonesia_halts_oil_palm_in_or.asp
*******************************

RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

Title: Heart of Borneo: Conservation vision gives hope to
treasure island
Source: Copyright 2006, WWF
Date: March 28, 2006

The “Heart of Borneo†conservation initiative was officially
launched today with the three Bornean governments – Brunei
Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia – declaring their commitment to
support it. The tri-country initiative aims to preserve one of the
most important centres of biological diversity in the world,
including approximately 220,000km2 of equatorial forests and
numerous wildlife species.

“Today’s announcement by the three governments shows vision and
leadership,†said James Leape, WWF International’s Director
General. “Three countries sharing one conservation vision gives
hope to one of the most important areas for biodiversity in the
world.â€

A recent WWF report highlighted that 361 new species have been
discovered in the last ten years.

“The Heart of Borneo harbours up to six per cent of the world’s
total biodiversity and is the source of 14 of the island’s 20
major rivers,†added Arman Mallolongan, Director General, Forest
Protection and Nature Conservation, Indonesian Ministry of
Forestry.

“Conserving the Heart of Borneo will not only save hundreds or
even thousands of species, but also provide water security, food
security and cultural survival for the people of Borneo.â€

“This is an historic event, as the Heart of Borneo initiative will
pave the way towards expanding conservation of biodiversity, which
fully supports the goal of the UN Convention on Biological
Diversity,†said Dato Suboh, Secretary General of the Malaysian
Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment. “This
initiative also represents a very significant milestone for
transboundary cooperation and will enhance existing collaboration
between our respective countries to protect vital natural
resources and reduce poverty.â€

Today, only half of Borneo's forest cover remains, down from 75
per cent in the mid 1980s. According to WWF, all lowland
rainforests in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, would
disappear by 2010, if the current deforestation rate of 1.3
million hectares per year continues. That’s an area equivalent to
about one-third the size of Switzerland. Forest fires, the
conversion of forests to plantations, and logging are also driving
the destruction of Borneo's forests.

Nevertheless, there is reason for optimism, WWF says. Healthy
forests cover much of highlands and adjacent foothills along the
borders of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, connecting in places
with rich, lowland forests to form a corridor of life – the Heart
of Borneo.

In addition, the three Bornean governments recently announced new
conservation measures within the Heart of Borneo. Malaysia
declared it will protect more than 200,000ha of key forest habitat
in Sabah for the protection of orang-utans, elephants and rhinos.
Brunei has established two conservation areas. And Indonesia has
proposed a new national park of 800,000ha.

According to WWF, today’s announcement also spells the end of
plans to create the world’s largest palm oil plantation in
Kalimantan along Indonesia’s mountainous border with Malaysia. The
scheme – supported with Chinese investments – was expected to
cover an area of 1.8 million hectares and would have had long-
lasting, damaging consequences on the Heart of Borneo. WWF
repeatedly said new oil palm plantations should be established on
degraded, non-forested land.

“WWF considers the Heart of Borneo to be one of its top global
priorities,†added Leape. “It is hugely important to maintain a
large enough area of Borneo’s forests for the survival of the
natural ecosystems. This is critical for sustainable development,
and WWF stands ready to assist Borneo’s three governments with
technical and financial support, so that we can make the
conservation vision a reality.â€

Brunei’s government representative, Mahmud Yussof, said he hoped a
tri-country declaration for the Heart of Borneo could be signed at
the 14th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development,
next May in New York.

For further information:
Olivier van Bogaert, Senior Press Officer
WWF International
Tel: +41 79 477 35 72
 

kunningtoerag

naut-psy-kik-humaon
WTF!!! I am going to be really careful wat stuff i buy and if its got palm oil in it i wont get the stuff, end of.
This is just raelly scary and unnesessary but its all becuz of the peak oil and climate change situation that society has caused.. i do really hope we can put this right somehow, and that we learn from these drastic mistakes that we as a race have caused..... peace and love me out xx
 

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
Well done toerag. Though once you start looking for it, it's amazing how much processed food has palm oil in it. Sometimes the ingredients just say vegetable oil, but a large proportion of that is usually palm oil because it has that yummy saturated texture. Best bet from an ecological point of view is just buy fresh local ingredients from a trusted shop or farmers market and make your own meals. It's not that hard really once you get in the habit, and it makes a huge difference to the economy and your health.

I don't think this is related to peak oil, in fact when oil starts to get expensive then all this global trade will start to diminish, but cutting down rainforest certainly has an impact on climate both local and global.

Other advice to save rainforest: make sure all timber and paper you buy is from sustainable sources or even better, recycled. If the shop don't know or won't tell you where it's from then leave it and explain why. It's horrible the amount of beautiful old-growth forest that just gets pulped into paper. And join the growing numbers of online protests - they really do seem to work to change government opinion.

Fight for the earth brave warriors!
 
as a semi-vegan i appear to consume vast quantities of palm oil.

for the reasons above i see that this is not good...

according to my sister there are only a couple of companies producing "ethical" palm oil - i'll have to track down what foods their product ends up in
 
a really bad one who isn't strict enough. been veggie for years but the next step is harder. cheese is real hard to cut out.

i try, i'll get there in the end :iyes:
 

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
It seems peak oil might be related after all.. it seems to affect everything really.. I didn't realise palm oil was being used for biofuels..

ALERT UPDATE
***********************************************
FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY
European Oil Palm Market Causing Indonesian Rainforest Loss
***********************************************
Rainforest Portal a project of Ecological Internet, Inc.
http://www.rainforestportal.org/ -- Rainforest Portal
http://www.rainforestportal.org/news/ -- Rainforest Newsfeed

April 13, 2006
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Forests.org

Below is an important update on the global campaign to protect
Indonesia's ancient rainforests from unfettered oil palm
plantation development. It comes from WALHI (Friends of the
Earth Indonesia), an important Indonesian NGO. Their new report
importantly links the rapidly expanding European market for oil
palm for biofuels (which Ecological Internet was amongst the
first to publicize) and other products with wholesale Indonesian
rainforest destruction from oil palm plantations. They are
demanding - as is Ecological Internet in our recent alert at
http://www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=indonesia -
that the Indonesian government officially cancel the proposed
mega oil palm plantation along the Malaysian border that
threatens the orangutan and other species with extinction.
Earlier loose assurances that the project will not proceed must
be followed by formal government statements, and the area given
permanent protected status that is enforced. Please continue to
take action on this important issue.
g.b.

*******************************

RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

Title: European hunger for palm oil triggers expansion of
plantations
Source: Copyright 2006, Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI)
Date: April 12, 2006

MEDIA ADVISORY

Friends of the Earth Netherlands * Sawit Watch * Friends of the
Earth Indonesia (WALHI) * Friends of the Earth England, Wales
and Northern Ireland *

INDONESIA: EUROPEAN HUNGER FOR PALM OIL AND TIMBER TRIGGERS
EXPANSION OF DESTRUCTIVE PALM OIL PLANTATIONS

JAKARTA (INDONESIA), LONDON (UK), AMSTERDAM (THE NETHERLANDS),
12 April 2006 -- A new report released today shows how the
Indonesian government might develop up to 3 million hectares of
oil palm plantations on the island of Borneo, threatening
wildlife and local livelihoods to cater for international demand
for cheap palm oil. [1]

One of the justifications given for this huge plantation project
is the increasing international demand for palm oil to be used
in food, feed and biofuels.

The report reveals how earlier plans to develop a 2 million
hectare plantation on the Indonesian side of the border with
Malaysia, are not yet off the table. Indonesia's initial
proposals to develop the border area had met with international
protest.

The Indonesian president Yudhoyono acknowledged there were
conservation concerns to be taken into account. But the
Indonesian Ministry of Public Works appears to have responded to
this in January 2006 by simply enlarging the area defined as the
"border zone". In this broader area, up to 3 million hectares of
oil palm could be planted, according to the Ministry.

The project still threatens mayhem, damaging wildlife and the
livelihoods of local people in the Kalimantan region. Friends of
the Earth Indonesia (WALHI) and local palm oil organisation
Sawit Watch ('Oilpalm Watch') are calling on the Indonesian
government to officially cancel the border mega-plantation plan.

The new report reveals that the area deemed suitable for oil
palm includes forests used by thousands of people who depend on
them for their livelihoods. In new larger border zone, a special
regulation (Presidential Decree No. 36/2005) would allow the
government to take land away from communities that do not want
oil palm plantations in the name of 'public interest'.

The report shows that those communities who are aware of the new
proposals are strongly opposed to the plans.

Evidence shows that in the last decade, many areas have been
deforested supposedly to make way for oil palm plantations but
have then been abandoned after the timber has been sold. In East
Kalimantan alone, 3 million hectares of forest disappeared for
oil palm concessions. Of those, only 300.000 hectares have
actually been planted with oil palm.

Sixty per cent of the forests converted into oil palm
plantations in 2004-2005 were still good forests, despite the
commitment made by the Indonesian government in 2000 that no
more forests would be converted to palm and pulp plantations.

"Communities should not be forced to change their livelihoods
simply for the benefit of oil palm companies and consumers
overseas. They have not been consulted on these proposals and
certainly have not agreed to abandon their land," said Rudy
Lumuru of Sawit Watch, in the Netherlands to present the report.

'European importing countries should not increase their imports
of palm oil until environmental and social issues are solved,'
added Anne Van Schaik of Friends of the Earth Netherlands. 'This
also means we should be very hesitant to embrace palm oil as a
biomass-solution to the current energy crisis. To start with,
companies and governments should ensure that palm oil used in
food and feedstock is in line with the criteria laid out by the
so-called Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil as soon as
possible," said Van Schaik.


FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

IN INDONESIA:
Sawit Watch: Rudy Lumuru + 62 812 110 1016 Friends of the Earth
Indonesia (WALHI) Rully Syumanda + 62 813 199 66998

IN EUROPE:
Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) + 31 20
5507333 Friends of the Earth in London: Alison Dilworth + 44 20
7566 4084 or + 44 7952 993283

NOTES TO EDITORS:

[1] The report "The Kalimantan Border Oil Palm Mega Project" can
be downloaded as pdf from www.milieudefensie.nl/globalisering
and from www.foenl.org
 

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
..or soaps and lipsticks.. but then I'm a soap-dodging hippy so my conscience is clean :irazz:

Check out this update though.. it's really very disturbing. I wish the Olympics didn't exist. Seeing who can fucking run the fastest is going to destroy New Guinea's rainforest. Thanks a lot.:mad:

UPDATE
***********************************************
FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY
Hopes Dim Further for Indonesia's Rainforests
***********************************************
Rainforest Portal a project of Ecological Internet, Inc.
http://www.rainforestportal.org/ -- Rainforest Portal
http://www.rainforestportal.org/news/ -- Rainforest Newsfeed

April 28, 2006
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Rainforest Portal

A month ago I made the audacious statement that the rainforest
movement had achieved a victory in protecting Indonesia's
rainforests and orangutans from a huge oil palm plantation. I
made this statement fully aware that Indonesia's rainforests
were in frenzied crisis and hoping that supporting those in
government working to conserve rainforests from such atrocities
could make a positive difference. This hope has proven fleeting.
I now realize I was wrong, am retracting the victory claim, and
have realized there is little or no hope for Indonesia's large
and intact ancient rainforests. I apologize for my error.

The latest news is that a Chinese company intends to set-up a
massive timber plant in Indonesian Papua to process rare
rainforest timbers for Olympic construction. This will set the
stage for the final destruction of these relatively intact
rainforests. The second story details the ongoing power struggle
between various Indonesian factions for and against the massive
oil palm project. These actions - which are so grossly unjust
and unsustainable, and our inability to stop them - show just
how impotent the rainforest movement has become.

Together with the nearly four million hectares of deforestation
already occurring annually in Indonesia's rainforests, the new
forces of rainforest destruction arrayed against Indonesia's
rainforest ecosystems are simply too great. Nothing can stand
against a billion Chinese consumers all aspiring to the wasteful
and deadly living standards of Americans and Europeans.

Ecological Internet will continue our campaign to support those
in the Indonesian government that oppose these projects. But
frankly, there is little hope that anything but the smallest
little fragmented bits of Indonesia's rainforests will ever be
protected, and perhaps I was crazy for saying there was. Let's
keep on trying nonetheless.
g.b.

*******************************

RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

ITEM #1
Indonesia: Chinese firm seeks license to build $1 billion timber
plant in Papua
Source: Copyright 2006, Jakarta Post
Date: April 28, 2006
Byline: Tb. Arie Rukmantara

A Chinese company is seeking for the government's approval to
set up a timber processing factory worth up to US$1 billion in
Papua province.

Forestry Minister Malem Sambat Kaban said in Jakarta on Tuesday
that the plant would process the province's famous merbau
(intsia spp) timber, which would then be exported to China for
the construction of sports facilities for the 2008 Olympic
Games.

"They need 800,000 cubic meters of merbau timber for the 2008
Olympics in China," Kaban told reporters at a breakfast meeting
at his official residence in Central Jakarta.

He said the Chinese company would invest up to $1 billion on the
construction of the plant and on acquiring Merbau logs.

Merbau is a dark, luxurious, red wood that is primarily used for
the manufacturing of hardwood floors, and can command prices of
up to US$138 per square meter. Merbau in round logs costs
between $200 and $275 per cubic meter on the global market.

The merbau tree is endemic in the Indonesian provinces of Papua
and West Irian, as well as in neighboring Papua New Guinea.

Experts forecast that China's drive to develop its
infrastructure to host the Olympics will consume tens of
millions of cubic meters of primary forestry products, including
solid wood flooring.

Kaban said that setting up the timber plant in Papua was the
only way that the company could meet its timber needs as the
government has banned the export of round logs since 2001.

"The company must process all the logs on the ground in Papua
and then ship them to China as processed timber," he said,
adding that the investment deal was expected to be concluded
this year.

The government slapped an export ban on unprocessed logs in 2001
to curb rampant illegal logging, which had been devastating 2.8
million hectares of forest and inflicting losses on the taxpayer
of about $4 billion per year.

Environmentalists are opposed to any project that would further
accelerate deforestation in Papua, which has some of the world's
last remaining large intact forests. However, these forests have
come under severe pressure from the rampant illegal logging of
merbau and granting of massive logging concessions.

"The size of the investment is tempting, but the government
needs to consider whether there are enough raw materials to
supply this plant. If there isn't, the company's presence might
only serve to legalize and fuel further illegal logging," said
Greenomics executive director Elfian Effendy.

Environmental groups have said that China's growing timber
industry consumes almost all of the estimated 300,000 cubic
meters of merbau smuggled out of Papua every month.

Forestry Ministry spokesperson Masyhud said that the ministry
would ensure that the company would only be supplied with logs
harvested from timber plantations, and would also require the
company to establish its own timber plantations.

"Should the planned investment be approved by both sides, we
will require them to apply sustainable forestry management
measures as we are confident that such a large investment will
mean a long-term presence," he said.


ITEM #2
Title: The end of Borneo's tropical forests?
Source: Copyright 2006, New York Times
Date: April 28, 2006
Byline: Jane Perlez

For generations, Anyie Apui and his people have gotten by on
fish and wild game, made do without roads, and left their
majestic trees intact. But all that is about to change.

The Indonesian government recently signed a deal with China that
would rip into some of the last untouched tropical forests here
on Borneo, where dozens of new species have been found in recent
years in an area so vital it is sometimes called the lungs of
Southeast Asia.

For China, the wood from the forest will provide flooring and
furniture for its ever-expanding middle class, and in its place
will be planted vast plantations for palm oil, an increasingly
popular ingredient in detergents, soaps, and lipstick.

For Anyie and his clan, the deal will bring jobs and the
opportunity for a modern life.

"We love our forest, but I want to build the road for my people,
I owe it to them," said Anyie, 63, an astute elder of the Dayak
people. "We've had enough of this kind of living."

The forest-to-palm-oil deal, one of an array of projects that
China said it would develop in Indonesia as part of a $7 billion
investment spree last year, illustrates the increasingly
symbiotic relationship between China's need for a wide variety
of raw materials and its Asian neighbors' readiness to provide
them - often at enormous environmental cost.

From Malaysia to Indonesia to Myanmar, many of the once-
plentiful forests of Southeast Asia are already gone, stripped
legally or illegally, including some in the low-lying lands here
in Kalimantan, on the Indonesian side of Borneo.

Those that remain, like the towering stands in Anyie's part of
the highlands, are ever-pressed, ever-prized and ever more
valuable, particularly as China's economy continues to surge.
Only half of Borneo's original forests still stand.

Overall, Indonesia says it expects China to invest $30 billion
in the next decade, a big infusion of capital that contrasts
with the declining investment here and in the region by American
companies.

Much of that Chinese investment is aimed at the extractive
industries, along with infrastructure like refineries, railroads
and toll roads to help speed the flow of Indonesia's plentiful
coal, oil, gas, timber, and palm oil to China's ports.

On April 19, Indonesia announced that China had placed a $1
billion rush order for 800,000 cubic meters, or 28.2 million
cubic feet, of an expensive red- brown hardwood, called merbau,
to be used in construction of its sports facilities for the 2008
Olympic Games.

Merbau wood, mostly prevalent in Papua's virgin forests, has
been illegally logged and shipped to China since the late 1990s,
stripping large swaths of forest in the Indonesian province on
the western side of the island of New Guinea.

The decision to award a $1 billion concession to China would
"increase the deforestation of Papua," a place of extraordinary
biodiversity, said Elfian Effendy, executive director of
Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental watchdog. "It's not
sustainable."

The plan for palm oil plantations in Borneo was signed during a
visit by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia to
Beijing last July.

Major consumer companies like Procter & Gamble say they are
using more palm oil in their products instead of refined crude
oil; palm oil is favored for cooking by the growing Chinese
middle class, and it is being explored as an alternative fuel.

Chopping down as much as 1.8 million hectares, or about 4.5
million acres, of the last straight-stemmed, slow-growing
towering dipterocarp trees in Borneo, which botanists say are
essential for sustaining a valuable ecosystem for plants,
animals and people, has raised a storm of protest from
Indonesia's environmentalists, and some economists.

Maps for the project show it would engulf much of the forests in
Kayan Mentarang National Park, where the intoxicating mix of
high altitude and equatorial humidity breeds a rare diversity of
species, second only to Papua's, biologists say.

The area serves as the source of 14 of the 20 major rivers on
Borneo, and the destruction of the forests would threaten water
supplies to coastal towns, said Stuart Chapman, a director at
the World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia.

Under pressure from environmental groups, the Indonesian
minister of environment and the minister of forestry both said
they opposed the plan.

The coordinating minister for economic affairs, Boediono, said
this month that he was still deciding the "pros and cons" of
whether the entire plan would be executed.

But the head of the Indonesian military, General Djoko Suyanto,
whose forces are heavily involved in Indonesia's illegal
forestry businesses, vigorously endorsed the plan during a visit
to the Borneo border region in March.

For years, Anyie, the Dayak elder, said he had resisted offers
from commercial contractors to cut down the forest around his
village, adjacent to the park.

He had worked hard, too, to keep the old ways of life, which
until 40 years ago included forays into head hunting, he
explained, showing visitors the skull of a Malaysian soldier
stowed in his attic, a souvenir from the 1965 Indonesian border
war with Malaysia.

But now it was time for a change, he said.

"People have told me, 'Wood is gold, you're still too honest,'"
said Anyie, a diminutive man with brush cut black hair.

His own grown children had deserted the village for big towns,
and the villagers left behind were tired of traveling everywhere
by foot (three days to neighboring Malaysia, where jobs in palm
oil plantations are plentiful) or by river boats powered by
anemic 10- horsepower engines.

For visitors, the journey is just as arduous. Today the area can
be reached only by light plane, a pummeling voyage over rapids
in an open wooden canoe and then a trek through tangles of trees
and creepers.

A three-day stay at a research station deep inside the forest
told what is at stake for the ecosystem, first documented by
Charles Darwin's colleague, Alfred Russel Wallace, in an account
in the late 1850s called "The Malay Archipelago."

Wild mango trees, tropical oaks, pale-trunked myrtles, sago
palms, rattan trees, and pandanas with shiny leaves like long
prongs crowded the hills that rise almost vertically above the
river.

Exceedingly tall and elegant dipterocarps towered over all,
their green canopies filtering shards of occasional sunlight.
Underfoot, tiny dew encrusted green mosses, still damp in the
afternoon, clung to rocks, and miniature versions of African
violets, poked their mauve flowers just above the ground.

Wildlife abounds, said Stephan Wulffraat, 39, a Dutch
conservation biologist and the director of the research station
run by the World Wildlife Fund.

The forest is home to seven species of leaf monkeys, he said,
and at high noon, a crashing sound high in the trees announced a
group's arrival. A red coated deer made a fleeting appearance
and dashed off.

In some areas of the gloomy forest floor, Wulffraat, who fended
off leeches with his pant legs tucked into knee- length football
socks, has set more than a dozen camera traps to photograph
wildlife, which is shy to appear.

Three years ago, an animal the size of a large cat with a bushy
tail with a reddish fur sauntered by the camera. Wulffraat, a
seven-year veteran of the forest, said the animal resembled a
civet, but he and other experts believe it was an entirely new
species, he said.

The discovery of a species of mammal like a civet is unusual,
but dozens of new species of trees, mosses and herbs,
butterflies, frogs, fresh water prawns and snakes have all been
found since the station opened in 1991, he said.

"This field station has more frogs and snake species around than
in all of Europe," Wulffraat said.

Farther out from the field station there were still unmapped
areas.

"We found an area with trees with trunks one meter in diameter
and a huge canopy," he said. "If the logging companies could get
there, they would be there in a minute."

Until now, the forests at these higher elevations have been
protected by their sheer inaccessibility. To get back to the
coast from the research station, for instance, takes a 15-hour
journey along a 560-kilometer, or 350-mile, stretch of the Bahau
and Kayan rivers in a wooden longboat powered by three outboard
motors.

In contrast, the forests in lowland Kalimantan, where roads have
been hacked into the land, are so ravaged by logging they will
have disappeared by 2010, the World Bank says.

As the roads start penetrating Anyie's area, the upland forests
will begin to disappear here, too. The solution to the dilemma
between the local people's yearning for jobs and preserving the
forest was to persuade the logging companies and the government
to adopt sustainable management plans, Wulffraat said.

Such a plan would allow logging only in specially certified
areas, he said. But so far, he said, that had proved a losing
proposition.

"In about 30 years," said Anyie, the tribal elder, "the forest
will be gone."

:icry:
 

kunningtoerag

naut-psy-kik-humaon
a good book on the issues raised is: the long emergency by james howard kunstler, he talks bout energy depletion, water scarcity, climate change, habitat destruction and epidemic diesease...a sobre and even grim view point of what we as individuals and as a species can expect if we carry on as we are..also www.joannamacy.net for possible solutions. good luck with your protests and if there is anything i can do, please dont hesitate to ask..take care xx
 

RedZebra

Member
Interesting post, thanks.
I'm not sure how much blame you can put on the olympics though - in my mind that's one of the few positive events in the world that are as international as possible and have to encourage healthy attitudes, etc. I'm sure the issue is more just China's massive and ever-growing economy coupled with the lack of environmental policies. I've heard of many terrible things happening in Indonesia in terms of mass destruction of their forests and wildlife, not to mention logging companies with mafia-like tactics (knifing fellow Indonesians who try to stop them). Huge amounts of good luck to anyone trying to put an end to all this. :icry:
 

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
Thanks for the link Rag.

Zebra, yeah I recognise the original aims of the olympics as being worthy, but now it seems to be becoming a big corporate advertising platform. And if the International Olympic Committee allow the Chinese Olympic Committee to destroy endangered rainforest to build their stadiums then I have no respect for them. This is one of the few times that the Chinese will actually listen to outside influence so it's our duty to speak up.

Here's another update on the Borneo situation, with some news on pulp (paper) mills, that could be good or bad, I'm not sure which at the moment!


UPDATE
***********************************************
RAINFOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY
Indonesia's Rainforests and Orangutans: Hope Emerges Anew!?
***********************************************
Forests.org a project of Ecological Internet, Inc.

http://www.rainforestportal.org/ -- Rainforest Portal
http://forests.org/ -- Forest Conservation Portal

May 12, 2006
OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Dr. Glen Barry, Rainforest Portal

The Indonesian government has announced that only 180,000 (of
1.8 million) hectares of the much criticized mega-plantation
project along the Indonesia-Malaysia border on the island of
Borneo are suitable to be converted into oil palm plantations.
Recall the "Heart of Borneo" rainforests are some of the last
prime habitat for the world's dwindling viable populations of
wild orangutans. What makes these statements even more
encouraging than previously reported opposition to the project
within the Indonesian government is the fact that announcement
was made by the Agriculture Minister, who has consistently been
one of the most vocal proponents of the project.

Together we have worked hard to battle the forces of biological
homogenization. Just when you may have given up, good news can
unexpectedly emerge from the unlikeliest sources. If not already
chastened by earlier claims that we had achieved a victory on
the matter, and my subsequent loss of faith, I would be crowing
right now. The very points made by Ecological Internet's email
action network (YOU!) have been acknowledged. Clearly our
campaign has had an impact and massively shifted the terms of
debate towards protecting the Heart of Borneo and its
rainforests and orangutans.

Besides putting an end to this project's last bits and
inevitable attempts to resurrect the notion of destroying
millions of year old ancient forests to make cooking oil, there
remain dozens of egregious threats to Indonesia's rainforests
including Chinese Olympic logging
http://www.rainforestportal.org/alerts/send.asp?id=olympic_timber
and vastly oversized pulp mills. The second article below
indicates the global pulp market is crashing because of
overcapacity and lack of forests to pulp. And we must not lose
site of the importance of stopping destruction, protecting and
restoring Indonesia's rainforest fragments found elsewhere.

But largely because of our network, time has been bought for the
Heart of Borneo, and for that we should give thanks to Gaia.
When the world wakes up to looming ecological collapse, and
begins the age of widespread ecological restoration in earnest,
there will be more genetic and ecological materials from which
to draw. I have learned my lesson - though shall not despair
when defending the Earth from seemingly insurmountable evil (or
at least bounce back at the next scrap of good news ;-)

While I have you attention, it would really help our campaign
efforts and stress levels to reach our funding goal and put the
fund-raiser behind us. Please, please celebrate yet another
positive rainforest development we achieved together by donating
to Ecological Internet at http://www.rainforestportal.org/donate/
g.b.

Comments to:
http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2006/05/indonesias_rainforests_and_ora_1.asp
*******************************

RELAYED TEXT STARTS HERE:

ITEM #1
Title: Govt seeks new land for border project
Source: Copyright 2006, Jakarta Post
Date: May 8, 2006
Byline: Tb. Arie Rukmantara, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government will go ahead with a much-criticized mega-
plantation project along the Indonesia-Malaysia border on Borneo
Island, but only small parts of the designated area can feasibly
be used, says a minister.

"We have evaluated the proposal. We found that only 180,000 (of
1.8 million) hectares are suitable to be converted into oil palm
plantations," Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono told The
Jakarta Post.

Environmental groups have opposed the plan, saying the forest-
to-oil-palm project would further denude the remaining pristine
Borneo forests that cover much of the border area. The groups
say this could cause billions of dollars' worth of damage to the
area's biodiversity, ecology and economy.

Forestry Minister Malem Sambat Kaban and State Minister of
Environment Rachmat Witoelar have also objected to the plan,
saying the project could encroach on conservation sites along
the border.

Anton said Friday the unexpected result of the feasibility study
did not mean the government would drop the project.

The government would still carry on with the project in the
180,000-hectare area and other feasible areas, he said.

"We will look for other available land outside conservation
sites, outside the Heart of Borneo, which must not be disturbed
for any reason," the agriculture minister said, referring to a
22-million hectare joint conservation project by Indonesia,
Malaysia and Brunei aimed at saving the island's remaining
natural forests.

Heart of Borneo national coordinator Bambang Supriyanto welcomed
the government's decision, saying it would save three national
parks and two natural reserves located in the border area.

"But, I ask the government to announce the decision to regional
administrations across the country, so as to prevent them from
issuing permits to convert forests into plantations along the
border," he said.

Environmental activists suggested that the government instead
use three million hectares of neglected land across Kalimantan
that have been abandoned by plantation companies after extensive
logging.

Environmental group Greenomics said if the government did not
convert forests, the mega-project would be a good idea that
could benefit the people of Kalimantan.

"As long as the 180,000 hectares are on forested land, we will
continue to oppose the project," said Greenomics director Elfian
Effendy.
Sawit (Palm) Watch coordinator Rudy Lumuru said the root problem
was not just the project's environmental impact, but the failure
of the country's oil palm plantation industry to increase the
prosperity of local people.

He said oil palm plantations often clash with local residents
over land-ownership disputes and dissatisfactory community
development programs.

"Before deciding to go on with the project, I urge the
government to create better regulations concerning the oil palm
industry, so they will use sustainable management that benefits
local people," Rudy said.


ITEM #2
Title: Global pulp mill industry on verge of collapse: report
Source: Copyright 2006, Agence France-Presse
Date: May 11, 2006

The rapidly expanding world pulp mill industry could be poised
for collapse due to a failure by financial institutions to
research how wood can be found to feed new mills, a report says.

The report by the Indonesian-based Centre for International
Forestry Research (CIFOR) says that false assumptions about the
origins and cost of wood used in emerging-market mills has led
investors to channel billions of dollars into financially risky
and environmentally destructive ventures.

The report, funded by the European Commission and the United
Kingdom's Department for International Development, analysed 67
pulp mill projects.

A lack of due diligence may lead to "a new wave of ill-advised
projects, setting up investors, forest-dependent communities and
the environment for a precipitous fall," a statement
accompanying the report warned.

More than $US40 billion has been poured into pulp mill projects
over the last decade, with another $US54 billion expected to be
invested by 2015, the report said.

It said much of the investment was in Brazil, China, Indonesia,
Uruguay and the Baltic States, with low wood costs the major
factor driving expansion.

"Financial institutions have shown a surprising lack of interest
in understanding how the pulp companies requesting loans are
going to get all this cheap wood," David Kaimowitz, director
general of CIFOR, said in the statement.

"In reality, some of these mills have vastly overestimated
what's legally available from timber plantations. So the only
way they can meet production targets is through unsustainable
logging of natural forests or by shipping in wood from distant
sources at a much higher cost."

The CIFOR report said that when the required wood cannot be
sourced from plantation forests, illegal logging and the
clearing of natural forests occurs instead.

It also said financial institutions often conduct only minimal
due diligence to assess the sources of wood for pulp projects
and frequently rely on data provided by the pulp producers
themselves.

"The study concludes that pulp mill projects often carry
significantly higher degrees of financial risk than investors
realise," the statement said.
 

oOemmaOo

hello
Having just been to Borneo and seen for myself the vast expanse of palm plantation there and heard that these plantations are one of the largest reasons that the rainforest is bein destroyed and orangs are losing their natural habitat i am feeling really raw about it all. there's loads of info here - thanks for this.
Its gutting really cos palms can be grown anywhere, so these huge amazing rainforest trees that are being felled and the lush soil that is left behind is wasted in more ways than one. They are "replanting" 3 trees for each one felled, but the soil is so knackered after the palm is grown these trees will never reach the grand stature of the original that was felled.
I saw a programme with Joanna Lumley recently, she was on a mission in borneo visiting orang rehabilitation centre, gold mining areas (again another rainforest killing machine due to useage of mercury!) and generally spreading the word. she described a typical day, you get up brush your teeth and have a wash and shampoo your hair, you go to work and have a bag of crisps and a sandwich with mayonnaise on it, you go home and eat a pre-packed meal, all these things contain palm oil and this is a common day for tens of thousands of people every day in the UK alone! scary stuff eh?
Ahem...anyway, I've prolly just reiterated what is written in these links that I'm gonna have to read at home, but thanks for the info dreadnaut. :Smile3:
 

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
Thanks Emma,

You're right about all of that stuff. Palm oil is everywhere.

What's worrying me most at the moment though is the push for palm oil to be made into biofuels. On the surface, biodiesel seems a great idea, avoiding burning fossil fuels, and indeed if it's made from waste cooking oil it is a great idea. The problem comes as legislation (the European Biofuel Directive) is brought in to guarantee that 5.75% of European motor fuel is made of biofuels. This will almost certainly boost the market for ex-rainforest palm oil and soya as it is cheap. Land is already being set aside for the European market, and a biodiesel refinery has just opened in Middlesborough that looks set to buy it's fuel from Borneo and Brazil.

For more information on this, and to join the campaign to stop tropical rainforest being cut down to power European cars go to www.biofuelwatch.org.uk

This is going to take some fighting..
 

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
Although this alert is primarily about Indonesia and climate change I thought I should post it here as it is still about the destruction of tropical rainforest to grow oil palm plantations :isad:


[FONT=times new roman,new york,times,serif]PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!
ACTION ALERT
Southeast Asia's Burning Rainforests and Peatland Threaten World's Climate
By Climate Ark & Rainforest Portal,
Projects of Ecological Internet, Inc.
http://www.rainforestportal.org/ and http://www.climateark.org/
October 8, 2006
TAKE ACTION

Let Kyoto Protocol Delegates Know You Demand Immediate Action to
Stop Rainforest Fires and Peatland Agricultural Conversion
http://www.climateark.org/alerts/send.asp?id=indonesia_peatland

On November 6th governments from all over the world will be
meeting in Nairobi for the year's most important United Nations
climate change talks. To date international policy discussions
have largely ignored the destruction and burning of Southeast
Asia’s rainforest peatlands. These wet, swampy rainforests are
drained to be cleared for agricultural plantations, and as they
dry their peat filled soils are highly susceptible to long
burning, carbon and methane rich fires. Peatland fires have for
years been one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas
emissions - accounting for the equivalent of some 15% of all
global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. Hundreds of peat and
forest fires are once again burning across Borneo, Sumatra and
Java. Unless the international community acts quickly, Southeast
Asia’s emissions of carbon and methane from burning peatlands
alone may lead to dangerous climate change including massive sea
level rises and mass extinctions. Expansion of oil palm
plantations, illegal logging and timber plantations have been
identified as the main drivers of the destruction. Take action!
http://www.climateark.org/alerts/send.asp?id=indonesia_peatland

[/FONT]
also there are many other petitions worthy of your signature at
http://www.thesynergyproject.org/content/view/131/206/
 

dreadnaut

cosmic dub warrior
The forest fires in Indonesia are currently blazing out of control and severely threatening the remaining Orangutan population :icry:

check out this report from the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation:

http://www.savetheorangutan.co.uk/newsletter/breaking_news_2410.htm

and do please sign the petition.. it's not much but it's one of the few things we can do, and certainly the easiest.

Hopefully the upcoming roundtable discussion
in Singapore on sustainable palm oil will come up with some much needed and practical solutions to this madness.
 

duracell_pixie

More trouble than i look
a really bad one who isn't strict enough. been veggie for years but the next step is harder. cheese is real hard to cut out.

i try, i'll get there in the end :iyes:

Yup, same problem for me.......:iyes: been veggie for years then decided to become vegan n lasted 4-5 months. Still dont drink milk but cheese is too yummy n vegan "cheese" is the most disgusting thing ive ever tasted!*barf* Tastes like salted rubber with an added eau de feet:iconfused Bleargh!
 

duracell_pixie

More trouble than i look
Bah! To quote an old proverb:-

"Only when the last tree has been cut down;
Only when the last fish has been caught;
Only when the last river has run dry;
Will man realise that money cant be eaten."

Makes me want to cry......

We (i mean everyone, not just sitting around and talking about it, but DOING!) need to be making serious steps towards relocalisation. Locally grown food, locally produced power supply- we need to not be reliant on the national grid as when fuels do run out and the government has to go eco-fuel the prices will be ridiculous as people will have no other option!They will be able to charge whatever they like....at the mo the government is providing grants for people to buy solar panels, mini turbines etc. Take advantage of this now and when the time comes, you will be self reliant, be able to stick two fingers up to the Government and their inflated prices hehe:ilol: Allotments are available in lots of places, if you can and have the time, get your name on the waiting list.If not, support local small scale producers and buy local, you know its right.:iyes: Dont buy processed food, it make take a little extra time to prepare but it tastes soooo much better. Refuse to fly as this has a huge impact on eco footprint, cycle where possible. Put a plastic bottle filled with water in the back of your loo systern as this minimises water wastage.Follow the "If its yellow, let it mellow, if its brown flush it down rule....":iredface: Use energy saving light bulbs...At work speak to resources and make sure paper is being recycled and that recycled paper is being purchased if its not possible to implement a paper free office, thats what e-mail is for after all. Anyone Manchester based, contact Action for Sustainable Living and they have people who will do home visits to help you be more eco-friendly. You can also volunteer for them- visits to schools to teach kids about eco awareness. Make changes from the grass roots level!

Sorry rant over:ibiggrin:
 

Earthling

Forum Member
Our tens of thousands of protest
emails have caused the Indonesian government to close the Prime
Minister's public email account.
Hah that's a laugh, for anyone who's ever tried communicating with the Indonesian govt by email. It doesn't work; the officials I CAN contact by email are using web-based accounts like hotmail and gmail!
 
Top