[INCL English] Indonesian Nature Conservation newsLetter 9-46a
- The INCL Team:
Evi Indraswati | Widia Lastiana | Muchamad Muchtar | Ed Colijn
Issue 9-46a, December 26th, 2006
1. CALL: 2007 SCB annual meeting - call for abstracts
2. PUBLICATION: Three decades of deforestation in southwest
Sumatra: Have protected areas halted forest loss and logging, and
3. SCHOLARSHIP: 2007 Global Scholarship Program Announcement
4. ARTICLEs on Borneo Orangutans
* Interview - Expert says everybody can help save the
* Feature: By riverboat to see the orang-utans of Kalimantan
* Feature: Kusasi, the orang-utan king, struggles for his throne
5. RELEASE: RSPO Indonesia Liaison Office Established
6. RELEASE: Scientists find dozens of new species in Borneo rainforests
7. RELEASE: Greenpeace demands Police investigation of Forest
Criminal PT Kayu Lapis Indonesia
ENGLISH PRESS CLIPPINGS
1. The hidden cost of your hardwood floor
2. KL govt to blame, say Papua NGOs
3. 10 years to live: Orang-utan faces extinction in the wild
4. Oil spills pollute waters of Seribu Island group
5. Burning offences
6. 52 new species found in Borneo, report announces
7. Threatened prehistoric paradise reveals its secrets
8. Reforestation program launched in Papua
9. RI ready to produce bird flu vaccine
10. Rhino disappearing from national park
11. Former forestry official detained for graft probe
12. Borneo governor arrested in rainforest for palm oil fraud
13. Firms awarded for waste management
14. RI aims to become world's third biggest pulp producer
15. Reforestation in Jambi fails
16. Cornering the Market on Conservation
17. Investigators seek power to protect nature
18. Borneo shrimp problem worries oil giant Total
CALL: 2007 SCB annual meeting - call for papers and posters
I write to invite those of you interested in species and ecosystem
conservation to consider participating in the annual meeting the
Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). For those of you interested in
attending and participating in a meeting of the SCB, I want to reach
out to you in the hopes of widening our network of social scientists
who are doing applied work within this realm. SCB is an 8,000-member
international professional organization. The Social Science Working
Group (SSWG) is a global community of conservation professionals
interested in the application of social science to the conservation of
biological diversity. With nearly 600 members in 60 countries, SSWG is
home to social scientists (anthropologists, economists, historians,
human geographers, political scientists, psychologists, sociologists,
and many others), ethicists, natural scientists, and conservation
practitioners (governmental, nongovernmental, and private sector).
The meeting to which I would like to invite you is the 2007 SCB annual
meeting, which is being held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa from July
1-5, 2007. The meeting's theme is "One World, One Conservation, One
Partnership" - an explicit focus on promoting interdisciplinary
approaches to applied conservation.
The SSWG has been asked by the meeting's organizers to promote
collaborations between social and natural scientists and between
African and non-African social scientists interested in conservation
issues that transcend location- or case-specific application.
The deadline for submitting abstracts to be considered for the meeting
is January 8. Symposia, workshops, organized discussions and short
courses have already been selected, so this will be the last chance to
get a proposal in to highlight your social science work in the
conservation field at SCB 2007. Details of the call for papers and
posters can be found at the conference site:
For those of you who plan on submitting abstracts for SCB 2007, I want
to point out that it will be important for you to clearly identify the
topic of your abstract as social science-oriented if you want to
ensure that your abstracts are forwarded to the social science
sub-committee for review.
There are 59 topic areas listed on the abstract submission webpage
(http://www.conbio.org/2007/abstracts/) and it is conceivable that an
abstract could be directed only to natural science reviewers even for
topic areas like `Societal-driven conservation' or `Conservation
If your paper or poster has a clear social science slant and you want
to ensure that social science reviewers do see it, please use at least
one of the following SSWG topic areas as your first or second choice
of topic area:
* Environmental or ecological economics
* Environmental anthropology
* Environmental geography
* Environmental history
* Environmental politics and policy
* Environmental sociology
* Conservation psychology
Department of Economics
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Source: FKKM Mailing List
PUBLICATION: Three decades of deforestation in southwest Sumatra: Have
protected areas halted forest loss and logging, and promoted re-growth?
David L.A. Gaveau
a,b,*, Hagnyo Wandonoc, Firman Setiabudid
a. Wildlife Conservation Society-Indonesia Program, Jl. Pangrango No.
8, Bogor, Indonesia
b. Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, Department of
Anthropology, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NR, Kent, UK
c.Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park Office, Directorate General of
Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA), Kota Agung Barat,
Lampung Province, Indonesia
d. Illegal Logging Response Centre-European Union/Ministry of
Forestry, Manggala Wanabakti Bld. Block VII, 6th Floor, Jl. Jend.
Gatot Subroto, Jakarta, Indonesia
A B S T R A C T
Much of the forest cover in southern Sumatra, Indonesia has been
cleared since the early 1970s, but accurate estimates of the scales
and rates of loss are lacking. This study combined high-quality remote
sensing applications and extensive field surveys, both to provide an
accurate picture of deforestation patterns across an area of 1.17
million ha in southwest Sumatra and to assess whether southwest
Sumatra's Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP) has halted
forest loss and logging, and promoted re-growth, since its creation in
1984. Of the single large (692,850 ha) contiguous area of forest
standing across our study area in 1972, nearly half (344,409 ha) has
been cleared from 1972 to 2002, at an average rate per original forest
cover of 1.69% y1. In Gunung Raya Wildlife Sanctuary (GRWS) and
Hydrological Reserves (HR), forests have shrunk by 28,696 ha and
113,105 ha, at an average rate of 2.74% y1 and 2.13% y1, respectively.
In contrast, forests in BBSNP have reduced four times more slowly than
those in GRWS and HR, and have shrunk by 57,344 ha, at an average rate
of 0.64% y1. Nevertheless, the forests within BBSNP were cleared
almost as rapidly during the post-establishment, as during the
pre-establishment, period (0.65% y1 and 0.63% y1, respectively)
despite the introduction of protection measures during the
post-establishment period, following the government's pledge to expand
and protect Indonesia's network of Protected Areas (PAs) at the 1982
BaliWorld Parks Congress. While these protection measures failed to
slow down rates of forest loss caused by agricultural encroachments
they reduced large-scale mechanised logging by a factor of 4.2 and
stabilized some 8610 ha of agricultural encroachments, enabling forest
Please contact David L.A. Gaveau at d.gaveau@... to obtain the
SCHOLARSHIP: 2007 Global Scholarship Program Announcement
The Society for Conservation GIS
This is not a typical scholarship program!
Rather, it is a support program that covers SOME of the costs to allow
you attend the best Conservation GIS conferences in the world this
summer and join in a very tight-knit community of friends in
specialized 2-week training courses around these conferences. Local
travel and accommodations provided will be simple and plain so that we
can afford to include as many people as possible, and you may be asked
to pay for some of these costs. These support grants are PARTIAL in
that you contribute some of the costs yourself and you are expected to
do a lot of work as a scholar. These grants are competitive in that
your application will be considered in comparison to others,
evaluating your work, your activism with NGO's, your needs and your
resources in relation to the environmental and economic issues of your
This year, an important policy change occurred in the program: we are
merging what used to be two scholarship programs, Domestic Program for
USA/Canada/Puerto Rico applicants and International Program for all
other countries, into one program under the title SCGIS Global
Scholarship Program. This will allow us to use a unified approach for
evaluation of all applications we receive, and to provide a better
integration of the two programs.
Awardees of the SCGIS Global Scholarship Program 2007 will be invited
to visit California to receive 2 weeks of training on general GIS
technology and on conservation applications in GIS that will be
conducted on June 4-16 in Redlands , CA , and at the James Reserve, a
biological station run by the University of California . After the
trainings, the awardees will have an opportunity to attend the 27th
ESRI International User Conference in San Diego , CA on June 18-22,
and the 10th SCGIS Annual Conference in Monterey , CA on June 25-28.
At these two conferences, the scholarship awardees will be able to
present results of their work, meet the colleagues from all over the
world, and learn about the most recent trends in GIS technology.
Application Deadline is January 31st, 2007.
For detailed information, guidelines and forms please go to:
www.scgis.org or http://gis-lab.info/projects/scgis/english (the
latter link allows you also to submit the application through an
Applicants may direct questions to Roberta Pickert, SCGIS
International Committee, rpickert@....
Eds. Thanks to Dolly Priatna for forwarding it.
ARTICLE: Interview - Expert says everybody can help save the orang-utans
By Carola Frentzen (carolafrentzen@...)
Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia
After the devastating forest fires that raged throughout the
Indonesian rainforest in late 2006, the future of the endangered
orang-utans has become even more critical. According to Canadian
scientist Dr Biruté Galdikas, the great apes could be extinct within
the next five to 10 years.
The world famous primatologist and author of the international
bestseller, Reflections of Eden, has been studying wild orang-utans in
Borneo for more than three decades. In 1986, she founded the Orangutan
Foundation International (OFI), a non-profit organization which
supports the conservation and understanding of the orang-utan and its
rain forest habitat while caring for individuals, previously held in
captivity, as they make their way back to the forest.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa: Doctor Galdikas, what would you say to
someone who were to ask you: Why should I care about orang-utans?
Galdikas: Orangutans are gentle, marvellous creatures. And they are
important for the biodiversity of the rainforest as well, because they
are essential agents for seed dispersal throughout the forest by
eating and spitting fruits.
And then, of course, orang-utans are the largest arboreal animals in
the world and they share 97 per cent of our DNA. Female orang- utans
have a baby only once every eight years, so every single one is
precious. All species are important, but orang-utans especially. I
call them the "Gardeners of the Garden of Eden."
dpa: How would you describe the current state of conservation of the
orang-utans in Borneo? Which, in your opinion, is the biggest threat
to their survival?
Galdikas: The situation is absolutely dreary. And despite some
successes, it is getting worse and worse. The orang-utan populations
are on the edge of extinction. And at the current pace they could be
completely gone within the next five to 10 years.
One of the reasons for this is that there are more and more people
living in the area, and their primary source of income is illegal
logging and palm oil plantations. And wherever you have illegal
logging and palm oil plantations you have fires. And fires are the
mechanism that is destroying the rainforest.
dpa: What about the illegal trade of baby orang-utans?
Galdikas: Many people in South-East Asia still keep little orang-utans
as pets. There are probably around 1,000 of them in Indonesia alone.
But this trade has gone underground since it became illegal.
Basically, orang-utans face three problems: The loss of habitat; fires
and trade. And all of them are intermingled.
dpa: Where does the wood/palm oil go? Who are the final consumers?
Galdikas: The wood mainly goes to China, Japan and Taiwan, which then
export finished wood products to the West. You can find palm oil in
almost every edible product like cookies and margarine, but also in
cosmetics, soap and toothpaste. Palm oil has become a universal commodity.
dpa: What can be done to break this circle? What is OFI's strategy?
Galdikas: OFI cannot take political action. What we can do is speak to
the people, speak to the loggers and explain to them the damage they
are producing, not only to the orang-utans but also to the
rainforests, which are the lungs of our planet.
We are currently trying to safeguard the National Park and convince
the Indonesian government to establish more protected areas.
Furthermore we have given work to more than 200 Indonesian people. We
are supporting the local economy in a way that may have a positive
impact on the forest.
Local farmers should be supported. Most of them become loggers in
order to earn more money. We should find alternatives in agriculture
for them, like increasing the crop diversity or the breeding of poultry.
dpa: So-called "slash and burn" practices by local tribes have often
been blamed. Do they really pose a threat?
Galdikas: No, this is a myth. The Dayak tribe has done slash and burn
for 1,000 years and it never destroyed the forest. These fires don't
get out of control. The only ones to blame are the timber and palm oil
dpa: What is the local government doing in order to help?
Galdikas: The local government in Central Kalimantan is currently
implementing a new life-long VIP pass for visitors to the Tanjung
Puting National Park, which will cost 1,500 dollars. People who come
to visit generally build up an emotional connection to the forest and
many of them come back again and again.
dpa: Is there a growing awareness about the fate of orang-utans
compared to, say, a decade ago?
Galdikas: There is much more interest now. I think this is in part
thanks to my book Reflections of Eden, which I wrote in 1995. At the
time I went on a book tour in many different cities and reached a lot
of audiences. Also the media are important.
dpa: How can ordinary people help save the orang-utans?
Galdikas: First of all, I would suggest they join a support
organization. Currently there are four organizations which all grew
out of OFI.
Secondly, they should go and visit the places and indicate through
this that they support the protection of the forests. You have to go
and experience the rainforest firsthand. In this way, local people can
also earn more from increased tourism.
For further information, visit OFI at www.orangutan.org.
FEATURE: By riverboat to see the orang-utans of Kalimantan
By Carola Frentzen (carolafrentzen@...)
Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia
Smoke hangs heavy in the air, as it does every year from the fires in
the rain forests of Kalimantan before the rains set in.
"It has never been this bad before. The rains simply won't start,"
says Anang, a travel guide in Indonesian Borneo who takes the more
adventurous travellers on a boat trip lasting several days to the
Tanjung Puting National Park. This is where the orang-utan lives.
It is a long way to this ape paradise, starting at the spartan airport
in Pangkalan Bun and taking the traveller from there by car to the
small port of Kumai, from where the journey continues by klotok - a
traditional Indonesian riverboat - into the jungle of central Kalimantan.
After two hours something red can be seen moving in the treetops. "An
orang-utan," Anang calls out, as the captain brings the klotok to a halt.
During the course of the days-long tour along the Sekonyer River, the
travellers also see gibbons, proboscis monkeys with their unusual
noses, crocodiles and swarms of brightly-coloured tropical
butterflies. At night, fireflies can be seen among the palms, making
them look like Christmas trees.
"In the rainy season there are large numbers of insects, and also
leeches that attach themselves all over the body," the captain says.
There is a chef aboard, who conjures up wonderful Asian meals in his
small galley. At night, when the travellers stretch out on comfortable
mattresses under mosquito nets, the rain forest truly comes to life.
"Sleeping on the boat under the open skies is simply fantastic. This
is the way to have direct contact with nature," says Carlo, an Italian
The trip takes the travellers past the Rimba Lodge, the only hotel in
the rain forest, before the klotok glides ever deeper into the Bornean
jungle. To the right lies the Tanjung Puting National Park, to the
left trees and bushes line the bank. Behind them a terrifying
emptiness can be seen - the result of uncontrolled logging and the
subsequent forest fires that have laid waste to the area and will
leave their legacy for centuries.
"The situation for the orang-utans and the rain forest is really sad,"
according to Birute Galdikas, an internationally-renowned Canadian
researcher into orang-utans.
She set up her Camp Leakey - named for her mentor Louis Leakey - in
1971, and this is the ultimate destination of the riverboat trip. From
where the boat is moored, the way leads over a wooden bridge of
several hundred metres to the camp, which consists of simple houses in
which the rangers live, along with an information centre for visitors.
"Male orang-utans can grow to 1.50 metres and weigh an average 120
kilograms," one of the information boards reads.
For those who want more than statistics, here is the opportunity to
meet the huge "Man of the Forest" in person. Just five minutes' walk
away, Tom blocks the jungle path, a mature adult male with the typical
cheek pads, who is on his way to the feeding platform where the
orang-utans get milk every day. Many visitors immediately seek to put
distance between themselves and Tom, as he is so impressive that those
unaccustomed to orang- utans are usually frightened.
Orang-utans are not at all aggressive, although they have become
expert thieves. They rummage through the visitors' rucksacks or
trouser pockets for anything they might find to eat.
Tom is holding firmly onto the hand of Utung, a young female. "Tom's
in love," a woman from the United States says enthralled.
If the travellers are lucky, they can see as many as a dozen of these
hairy red giants at the feeding platform, and there are also regular
visitors to the camp, like the affectionate Siswi or the
Most of the apes around Camp Leakey are orphans saved from the jungle
at a young age by Galdikas and then returned to the wild. Almost all
the females have youngsters clinging to their bodies. They are
completely able to forage for themselves, finding their food, mostly
fruit, in the jungle. But many of them happily avail themselves of the
milk provided by the rangers.
Orang-utans breed only once every eight years, and their natural
environment is under increasing threat from deforestation caused by
logging and burning. Their existence has been precarious for years,
and according to some estimates, wild members of the species could be
extinct within 10 years.
"They are important from a biodiversity point of view and they are
also the world's largest tree-living animal," Galdikas says. The
researcher, who has been living in the rain forests for the past two
decades, sees these "wonderful creatures as the gardeners of the
Garden of Eden."
FEATURE: Kusasi, the orang-utan king, struggles for his throne
By Carola Frentzen, (carolafrentzen@...)
Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia
Kusasi's got a secret. Themassive 120-kilogram giant is staring out of
his cage. His gaze is lost in time and space, self-contained and
patient. Observers sense with awed certainty that they are looking at
the ost famous male orang-utan of all time. The enormous great ape
gained international stardom in the late 1990s when Hollywood actress
Julia Roberts came to Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo.
In a memorable scene from her orang-utan documentary, In the Wild, she
bravely approaches the red colossus, whispering his name "Kusasi...
Kusasi..." At this he suddenly grabs her, tearing her down to the
ground. Only the prompt intervention of the rangers help her out of
"As scared as I was, I knew his intentions were playful," she said
later. "I am completely overwhelmed, I feel like I had the most
intense encounter that a person could ever have," she added.
The BBC also dedicated a prize-winning film to Kusasi, From Orphan to
King, in which his decades-long rise to power and his fights for the
throne are documented.
Kusasi had a problematic childhood. In 1976, when he was still a small
baby, he was stolen by hunters who had shot dead his mother. Rescued
by the police, the little orphan was taken to Camp Leakey, an
orangutan sanctuary and research centre in the Tanjung Puting National
Park in the middle of the rainforest. It was founded in the early
1970s by world famous primatologist, Dr Biruté Galdikas.
"Kusasi has always been different," Galdikas told Deutsche Presse-
Agentur dpa in a recent interview. "He was an orphan but he wasn't
raised by humans. After he came to Camp Leakey in the late 70s he
almost immediately vanished into the forest and came back only one and
a half years later," she remembers.
"This is very unusual. At the time we all thought he was dead. But now
we believe he must have followed a wild female orang-utan in the
forest, that's how he survived," Galdikas says. Back in the camp,
Kusasi adopted the dominant female as his new "mother." "She didn't
want him but he insisted," Galdikas says. "That's how he became
strong, by following a strong female."
The primatologist, who lived for decades in Kalimantan's primary
rainforest to study wild orang-utans, smiles when asked to describe
"I would say he has a very determined personality."
Recently, a number of younger males have been trying to get into
power. With "long calls" - a series of loud groans that can be heard
up to one kilometre away - they are constantly trying to warn each
other to stay away. In often brutal battles, the great apes chase each
other up the trees. In one such fight, Kusasi and his adversary, Win,
fell - locked in combat - 10 metres to the ground. Kusasi broke his arm.
Another ambitious youngster, Tom, felt that now his chance had finally
come. Handicapped and with just one healthy arm, Kusasi got badly
"We found him on the forest floor, heavily breathing and with wounds
all over his body," says Anang, who works as a tourist guide in the
park. "The veterinarians anaesthetized him and brought him to the
clinic," he explains.
This particular clinic is the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine
(OCCQ), which was set up by Galdikas in 1991 in the small village of
The huge primate is sitting in his cage and is playing with some
branches, sporadically scratching his prominent cheek pads, which are
the distinctive trait of dominant males. After months of treatment and
care, Kusasi's wounds have healed and it seems that the colossus knows
that soon the bars will open for him and that he will return to his
What orang-utan experts don't know is how long Kusasi can survive in
the forest before he gets attacked again. He is in his early 30s now
and he has been the king - or rather, the dominant alpha male for more
than a decade.
"We cannot take him to another area, because the forest around Camp
Leakey is his home, it always has been. My guess is that in the future
he will be much more cautious when he sees Tom," Galdikas explains.
Everyone who knows Kusasi wonders what his future will be like. He
could live for another 20 or 30 years, but will he still be king?
Julia Roberts once stated: "He seems happy with only his thoughts for
company, content with himself in a way that we will never truly know.
It's Kusasi's secret. And he's not gonna tell it."
RELEASE: RSPO Indonesia Liaison Office Established
RT4 in Singapore saw the launch of the RSPO Indonesia Liaison Office
(RILO) to support the RSPO Secretariat in Kuala Lumpur and promote the
overall objectives of the RSPO in Indonesia. A special meeting was
held on 21 November 2006 to brief stakeholders on the objectives and
modus operandi of RILO as well as to seek the views and support of the
key players in the oil palm industry in Indonesia, particularly the
Indonesian Palm Oil Commission (IPOC), Indonesian Palm Oil Association
(GAPKI), WWF Indonesia and Sawit Watch.
Mooted by WWF Indonesia in October, 2004 after RT2 in Jakarta, RILO
became a reality with the financial support from the Dutch Government
through the Trilateral Partnership among Indonesia, Malaysia and the
Netherlands Specific functions of RILO include assistance in:
1. Service to members (mailing, contacts) in Indonesia
2. Communication, including contribution of materials in Bahasa
Indonesia to the RSPO website, brochures and other print or electronic
3. Networking with other organizations/institutions
4. Recruiting new members in Indonesia.
5. Organization of RSPO meetings and stakeholder sessions in Indonesia
6. Assist in the implementation and monitoring of progress of RSPO
projects in Indonesia
7. Assist and facilitate fruitful cooperation between the
Partnership Market Access of Palm Oil and the RSPO where feasible
Ms Deuxiemi (Desi) Kusumadewi has been appointed the Liaison Officer
to manage RILO operations and the RSPO Secretary-General in the
administration, management and implementation of activities and
projects necessary for meeting the objectives of the RSPO in
Indonesia. A graduate in BSc in Agricultural Social Economics from
Bogor Agricultural University, Ms Desi has 6 years working experience
with a plantation company (Lyman Agro Group) in Indonesia.
During the initial six months, RILO office is located in the premises
of IPOC in Jakarta. In order to ensure that RILO makes good progress
from commencement, Mr Teoh Cheng Hai, former SG of RSPO and Dr
Rosediana Suharto, Chairman-in-charge of IPOC have been appointed as
Advisors to provide support and guidance to the Liaison Officer during
Desi Kusumadewi, RSPO Indonesia Liaison Officer: desi@...
1. RSPO Indonesia Liaison Office Established
2. RT4 - Summary of Results & Recommendations
3. UPDATE: National Interpretation in Papua New Guinea & Malaysia
IF you would to add yourself to the periodic e-updates from RSPO,
please email your request to Si-Siew Lim (slim@...). Feel free to
visit the website for further information on sustainable palm oil:
RELEASE: Scientists find dozens of new species in Borneo rainforests
WWF International - December 19, 2006
At least 52 new species of animals and plants have been identified
this past year on the island of Borneo, according to scientists.
The discoveries, described in a report compiled by WWF, include 30
unique fish species, two tree frog species, 16 ginger species, three
tree species and one large-leafed plant species.
WWF says that these findings further highlight the need to conserve
the habitat and species of the world's third largest island.
"The more we look the more we find," said Stuart Chapman, WWF
International Coordinator of the Heart of Borneo Programme. "These
discoveries reaffirm Borneo's position as one of the most important
centres of biodiversity in the world."
Many of these creatures new to science are amazing: a miniature fish
the world's second smallest vertebrate, measuring less than one
centimetre in length and found in the highly acidic blackwater peat
swamps of the island; six Siamese fighting fish, including one species
with a beautiful iridescent blue-green marking; a catfish with
protruding teeth and an adhesive belly which allows it to literally
stick to rocks; and a tree frog with striking bright green eyes.
For plants, the ginger discoveries more than double the entire number
of the Etlingera species found to date, and the tree flora of Borneo
has been expanded by three new tree species of the genus Beilschmiedia.
Several of these new species were found in the "Heart of Borneo", a
220,000km2 mountainous region covered with equatorial rainforest in
the centre of the island. But WWF warns that this habitat continues to
be threatened with large areas of forest being increasingly cleared
for rubber, oil palm and pulp production. Since 1996, deforestation
across Indonesia has increased to an average of 2 million hectares per
year and today only half of Borneo's original forest cover remains,
according to the global conservation organization.
"The remote and inaccessible forests in the Heart of Borneo are one of
the world's final frontiers for science and many new species continue
to be discovered here. We are just waiting for the next surprise,"
added Chapman. "But these forests are also vital because they are the
source of most of the island's major rivers, and act as a natural
"fire-break" against the fires that have ravaged the lowlands this year."
At a meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity held last
March in Curitiba, Brazil, the three Bornean governments Brunei
Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia declared their commitment to
support an initiative to conserve and sustainably manage the Heart of
Borneo. It is now hoped that they will finalise a formal joint
declaration as a matter of urgency to put the Heart of Borneo on the
global stage of conservation priorities.
* The 52 new species were discovered between July 2005 and
* The report The search continues is available on
www.panda.org/heart_of_borneo/publications or can be downloaded at
* Borneo is one of only two places on earth - the other one is
Sumatra Island - where endangered species such as orang-utans,
elephants and rhinos co-exist. Other threatened wildlife that lives in
Borneo include clouded leopards, sun bears, and endemic Bornean
gibbons. The island is also home to 10 primate species, over 350 bird
species, 150 reptiles and amphibians and 15,000 plants.
* Journalists can directly download materials related to this
report at: http://intranet.panda.org/documents/folder.cfm"uFolderID=61441
Using the following login:
* Password: dropbox A WWF report launched last year -Borneo's Lost
World: Newly Discovered Species on Borneo ( April, 2005 ) - showed
that at least 361 new species had been identified and described on the
island between 1994 and 2004. This amounts to three new species a
month in an area only a little more than twice the size of Germany.
The number included 260 insects, 50 plants, 30 freshwater fish, 7
frogs, 6 lizards, 5 crabs, 2 snakes and a toad. The report suggested
that thousands more have not yet been studied. The report can be
For further information:
Stuart Chapman, WWF International Coordinator
Heart of Borneo Programme
Tel: +44 1483 426444
Olivier van Bogaert, Senior Press Officer
Tel: +41 22 364 9554
RELEASE: Greenpeace demands Police investigation of Forest Criminal PT
Kayu Lapis Indonesia
Greenpeace - December 22, 2006
Greenpeace today filed a formal complaint against PT Kayu Lapis
Indonesia for their forest crimes with the Indonesian Police and
demanded a full scale investigation of PT KLI's operations based on
the evidence provided in the submission. Today's formal complaint
follows a series of public activities by Greenpeace exposing PT Kayu
Lapis' role in destroying large tracts of ancient forests of Papua in
"We have evidence that the raw materials used by PT KLI come from
illegal sources that destroy forests in Papua. Material suppliers for
the company are usually their own subsidiaries operating in several
parts in Papua. For instance, in our submission we have pointed that
PT Intimpura Timber Co, a subsidiary company under Kayu Lapis
Indonesia is responsible for violating the Forestry regulations UU
Kehutanan No.41/1999 and Government Regulations No.34/2002," said
Hapsoro, Regional Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
"The police must take these violations seriously and should
immediately halt all operations of PT Kayu Lapis Indonesia until
thorough investigations are done, since
the Ministry of Forestry which is responsible for issuing `Forest
Killer' permits has made no sanctions towards this company, despite
all the evidence presented." he
Crimes conducted by PT Intimpura Timber Co as reported by Greenpeace are:
a) cutting down trees in a protected area and having a width of
less than 50 meters [violating UU No. 41/1999, article 50 (2), (3c)
b) converting forest in a forest concession area is a violation of
regulation PP 34/2002, Bab VI, Article 72 (2, 3, 4 and 5)
In April 2006, Greenpeace released a report entitled "Forest Crime
File: Kayu Lapis Indonesia Untouchable God of Indonesian Ancient
Forest Destruction" containing evidence that PT KLI and its
subsidiaries have been repeatedly involved in illegal logging
activities, along with serious violations of Indonesian forestry
regulations. Surprisingly, despite all the evidence presented in this
report, the audit conducted by the Ministry of Forestry concluded that
no serious violations were found in their operations.
Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization 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 MORE INFORMATION:
Hapsoro, Regional Forest Campaigner, +62 815 857 19872
Abner Korwa, Papua Forest Campaigner, +62 813 448 466 22
Ann Sjamsu, Media Campaigner, +62 855 885 1121
Arie Rostika Utami, Media Assistant, +62 856 885 7275
The hidden cost of your hardwood floor
Source: Chicago Tribune - December 18, 2006
By Evan Osnos, ZHANGJIAGANG, China
The demand for Chinese goods is driving destructive logging around the
globe. Part two of a Tribune special report.
Night and day, the timber ships reach this Yangtze River port, one of
the world's busiest clearinghouses for logs from every corner of the
globe: Southeast Asia, the Amazon, Russia, the Congo. Soon, this wood
will be yours. It will be your hardwood floor and your coffee table,
your bedroom dresser and your plywood -- all stamped with the most
successful label of our time: Made in China.
In less than a decade, China has transformed the global timber trade,
importing more wood each year than any country in history and
quadrupling the amount of wood products it ships around the globe. And
no one is consuming more of it than Americans. U.S. shoppers have
become the world's best customers of low-cost Chinese flooring,
furniture and plywood, buying 10 times as much as a decade ago.
But that profitable embrace comes at a steep, hidden cost: The demand
for cheap Chinese goods is driving destructive logging around the
world, threatening livelihoods and dividing fragile nations.
Nearly three decades into its unprecedented economic ascent, China is
outstripping its own resources and roaming the planet for more. Its
hunt for timber is driven by a voracious hunger for everything from
wood to cashmere to oil. That hunger has wrought damage within its
borders and beyond.
To grasp how a rising superpower's appetites shape the world, consider
a single log from this port at Zhangjiagang. Buried among thousands of
others, it has nothing to set it apart except a number emblazoned on a
tiny green tag: 11008.
In those five digits lies the story of where the log began, a coded
map to a distant outpost of China's commercial empire. It points south
from the flourishing coast of southern China, across 3,000 miles of
the Pacific to Papua New Guinea, one of the world's most troubled and
spectacular countries, which nearly abandoned logging until China came
Digit by digit, the map leads over the mountains and glaciers to the
nation's remote northwest province, Sandaun, where millions in timber
profits and payments have left children without shoes and schools
without plumbing. The numeric trail ends at a specific patch of Papua
New Guinea's forest. And in that forest lies a village where the torn
landscape of logging has left a tribal leader unsure where to hunt for
food and fearful for the future.
A gold mine of timber
Jim Sumo, a short, muscular 34-year-old clan leader, spotted the muddy
track carved by a bulldozer and strode into the jungle. The midday sun
bore through the foliage, and insects droned overhead. He was headed
to see another tree cut down near his home, the village of Sumumini.
He passed a dozen logs lying in a row, ready to be trucked down the
rutted road to Vanimo harbor, where a trio of 330-foot timber ships
waited in the brilliant blue water.
Sumo reached a clearing where a pencil cedar, straight as a bell
tower, soared from the forest floor. A chain-saw operator was revving
his battered orange-and-white Stihl. He carved two thick wedges from
the trunk and stepped away. The tree listed and cracked, crashing
through vines and brush and thundering to the ground.
Sun poured into the hole. For an instant, the jungle was
library-silent. Sumo turned and trudged back through the mud,
seething. He walked through a gold mine of wood. On all sides were
some of the world's most expensive trees--smooth, hard tropical
species tinged with exotic reds and yellows, some hundreds of years
old and coveted by loggers, manufacturers and retailers.
With names like kwila and mersawa and garo garo, the trees were
destined to become condo floors, back-yard furniture and squash
courts, the backdrop of an unimaginably different world.
The forest through which he walked cradled other treasure as well: one
of the planet's single richest stores of biodiversity, an abundance
that led Charles Darwin contemporary Alfred Russel Wallace to say of
New Guinea that "If we look round the whole circumference of the
globe, we shall be unable to find a region . . . so promising to the
naturalist." Scientists have identified species on the island as
recently as December 2005, including 20 varieties of frogs. Such
tropical rain forests cover barely 6 percent of the planet but hold 50
percent of all the known organisms on Earth. Half of the world's
tropical forests have been felled already, leaving researchers to
speculate how many species are going extinct before they are discovered.
That prospect makes New Guinea even more of a treasure in the
lucrative world of biomedical research. Tropical forests hold unique
value for researchers who rely on new genetic ingredients for cures
and vaccines. By one count, no less than 40 percent of all
prescriptions written in the U.S. are for drugs derived from plants,
animals and microorganisms.
Loggers in Papua New Guinea are cutting so fast that experts calculate
that the rest of its accessible forests will be cut down within 16 years.
"Those are some of the finest remaining forests in the tropical
world," said American biologist Bruce Beehler, who has made more than
40 research trips to New Guinea.
"If you take just 1 hectare [2 1/2 acres] of it, it probably has
thousands of species living there--plants, animals and other
life-forms--that haven't been described by science. So we don't even
know what's in that box that is being meddled with."
Winding along the muddy trail, Sumo the tribal leader had more urgent
concerns. He wanted to know why it was getting harder to find food in
the forest, why his people still live in another era.
"We're being used," he said bitterly as the chain saw roared again in
the distance. "They've made millions in this area."
The freshly cut tree would be tagged with the same forest code as the
log at the Chinese port: 11008.
`An appalling deal'
There may be no better place to hear the echoes of China's rise than
Papua New Guinea, whose local timber industry is booming. It sends
four out of every five logs to China. Less than a decade ago, the
industry was headed for ruin--until something thousands of miles away
changed the course of the island nation's natural history.
In the summer of 1998, massive floods struck the Yangtze and other
Chinese rivers, leaving thousands dead and 14 million people homeless.
Chinese authorities blamed aggressive logging for eroding the soil and
exacerbating the floods. With the sweeping power afforded a one-party
authoritarian state, China banned logging on vast sections of the
rivers, slashed tariffs to attract foreign logs and turned in part to
Papua New Guinea.
Since that moment, its timber exports to China have soared more than
tenfold. Though the exports accounted for just 6.5 percent of China's
log imports in 2005, they meant everything to its tiny trade partner.
In effect, China salvaged the logging business in Papua New Guinea.
"If you took China out of the industry now, we wouldn't be sitting
here," said timber spokesman Bob Tate.
Papua New Guinea spreads east from Indonesia across half the rugged
island of New Guinea. This year it crossed an astounding milestone,
leaping past big Asian and African timber producers to become China's
largest supplier of tropical logs. Behind that surge is a timber
industry with unequaled power in local politics and business, strong
enough to keep cutting trees despite mounting criticism from citizens,
government and international organizations.
Regulators describe a logging system in crisis. Hundreds of pages of
Papua New Guinea government audits, ordered by the World Bank from
2000 to 2005, document widespread illegal and unsustainable logging, a
monitoring system "fatally damaged" by budget cuts and cronyism, and
"few lasting benefits" to the villagers who sell their trees.
Foreign donors and customers have begun to recoil. The World Bank
canceled a conservation deal last year that would have delivered more
than $30 million in loans. British timber traders recently issued a
rare advisory to avoid products made of Papua New Guinea wood.
Around the world, more consumers are beginning to ask where their wood
comes from, pressuring retailers to sell products certified as being
from responsible sources. British conservation groups, for instance,
persuaded lawmakers to ban illegal wood from all government contracts.
Illegal logging takes many forms: flat-out theft, evasion of taxes and
fees, and violation of national labor and environmental laws.
Americans have been slower to realize the extent of the problem. U.S.
law does not ban the sale of most illegal wood. Environmentalism has
never been as popular in the U.S. as in Europe, and U.S. demand
remains low for environmentally certified products.
That may be changing. Just as sweatshops and "conflict diamonds" posed
an ethical challenge for U.S. retailers in the past--forcing many to
improve their practices--China's traffic of illegal wood tests the
environmental pledges of U.S. retailers.
The pressure to clamp down on illegal timber has reached Papua New
Guinea, where industry executives and political allies defend logging.
They call it an economic lifeline that employs more than 9,000 people,
contributes up to 6 percent of tax revenue and provides more than $20
million a year in payments to landowners. Tate, the industry
spokesman, said regulators' criticisms bear "no relationship to reality."
But critics accuse timber companies of exploiting a nation unequipped
to police itself in a race to feed world demand before Papua New
Guinea's supply is exhausted.
"When we look at the issue in a global sense, you have to ask the
question: Are the people and government of Papua New Guinea getting a
good deal from forestry?" asked High Commissioner David
Gordon-Macleod, the highest-ranking British diplomat in Papua New
Guinea. "And the answer is: They are getting an appalling deal."
The great wood hope
It's certainly not the deal that Sumo's village of Sumumini imagined
when it agreed to logging. On March 23, 1968, government officials
arrived to obtain permission to make timber deals for the village.
Thomas Yeweya was 18 years old, and like all village men, he was
bare-chested and wore a penis gourd. Like each of the others, he
marked the contract with an X because he could neither read nor write.
Now 56, he wears shorts and a T-shirt, but his X survives beside his
tribal name, Kaia Yafi, on the brittle yellowed pages of the contract,
which begins, "We, the undersigned natives. ..."
"We expected things would change," said Yeweya, his rheumy eyes
searching the faces of villagers around him. "But over the years,
The villagers were not the only ones optimistic about what logging
could provide to Papua New Guinea. Global forestry experts once
thought the nation's unique system of landownership--97 percent of
property belongs to private citizens, not government--would protect it
from the corruption and abuse common in other timber countries.
"Papua New Guinea was the great hope of the conservation world," said
Lisa Curran, director of Yale University's Tropical Resources Institute.
Yet today, how much do villagers actually receive when their wood ends
up on a distant shelf? Figures vary, but the conclusion does not.
"Logging was found to have little long-term beneficial impact on
landowners, although they bear the environmental costs," concluded a
2004 government audit.
About 12 cents on the dollar of an average log exported from the
country ends up in the hands of citizens, according to a study
co-funded by the European Commission. The price of that wood usually
rises tenfold by the time it's processed into flooring and shipped to
That helps explain why most of the country lives like Sumo's village,
a dusty clearing dotted with thatched huts on stilts. Women prod the
cooking fires and trek to the river for water. Like 85 percent of the
country, the villagers survive almost exclusively on what they grow
and hunt: sweet potatoes, wallabies, tree kangaroos, possums, birds.
If they live past 65, they will be ancient by national standards. And,
despite the trickle of income from logging, more than a third of the
children are underweight by their fifth birthday.
If government regulators are right, things are likely to get worse for
Sumumini. "In some instances where logging stops, and the cash flow to
landowners stops, landowners are worse off as they have learned to
depend on store-bought food," concluded the government's 2004 audit.
Clan chief Guling Lindang knows firsthand. From 1998 to 2002, loggers
harvested the trees around his oceanfront village in the eastern Buhem
Mongi Busiga region. Logging brought a burst of cash, and Lindang's
clan broke ground on a tin-roof church. They didn't have electricity
or latrines, but they opened four tiny stores to sell crackers,
cigarettes and batteries. The company gave Lindang a job mediating
local disputes. And then it was over. The loggers moved on to another
Their departure left a church with no walls, and villagers squabbled
over the little money that remained. The loggers also left an old
tugboat that had been gutted by a fire. Today it sits rusting in the
bay, a monument to imagined prosperity.
Lindang, 46, is the fourth generation of his family to be chief, but
the first to sell the trees. He is haunted by his decision to harvest
the forest. "It looks like a lady that has been spoiled," he said.
His lament is echoed in a lonesome logging camp on the island's
eastern reaches. A half-day's boat trip from any road, police station
or government office, the Everwell Ltd. logging site is typical of
Papua New Guinea's vast, unsupervised industry.
Everwell's general manager, L.Y. Hii, denied that the company breaks
any logging laws. "We always follow the rules," he said, adding that
he believed government inspectors effectively prevent any violations.
"They will not hesitate to stop an operation." But a veteran Everwell
forester said the reality is something different. Relentless demand
compels the company to break forestry laws meant to prevent ecological
damage, the forester said, including rules intended to ban logging
around rivers and restrict the cutting of smaller trees.
"To be honest, I can say, yes, we did break some rules," said the
forester, who is not named to protect him from retaliation. "But I'm
caught in the middle. The landowners say, `Please don't do that.' But
I say, `Look, the log [yard] is empty. We have to do something.'"
He might as well have been speaking for Papua New Guinea itself, torn
between the lure of China's cash and the mounting damage to the land.
Dawn of rebellion in Sandaun
After all the expectations of what the global economy might deliver,
the villagers of Sumumini finally got angry. They were struggling to
hunt and fish, trekking a full day to find food that had always been
close by until logging arrived. They worried about what the next
generation would eat. And, more urgently, they worried about the
water. Since logging had started nearby in 2001, the river had grown
cloudy, villagers said.
"The company works in the river--in the top, the middle and the
bottom," said Yeweya, the clan elder. "It's dirty, and we can't drink it."
In similar villages across Sandaun province--"sundown" in the island's
pidgin English, because this corner of western Papua New Guinea is the
last to see the day's final flickers of sun--similar river damage has
triggered a slide in public health.
"Streams that people use for cooking and drinking are contaminated,"
said Samson Mesambe, head of the local branch of Caritas, the Catholic
relief program. "Many of the villages are using water tanks now, but
these are not safe because it is standing water, and people are
getting malaria, leprosy and elephantiasis of the legs. Those
illnesses are very common in areas of logging."
The local timber company, Vanimo Forest Products, referred all
questions to the industry association. Tate, the industry spokesman,
disputed that logging operations have harmed any local water sources
in the country. Regulators disagree. "The logging operation has
affected the local river systems," wrote investigators from the
Department for Community Development in a report on Vanimo.
Fed up, villagers came to Sumo last year with hard questions about
their arrangement with the timber company. Sumo conceded he couldn't
point to a single meaningful benefit that his village had received
from logging. So the clan chief did the only thing he could imagine:
He led his villagers out onto the logging company's treasured dirt
road. They refused to budge until the timber company agreed to build a
school and a clinic. The villagers won, and now they have a new
one-room school and clinic, in fresh green paint with white trim. The
village is pleased--though it has no idea how it will pay to maintain
The company could not afford to ignore discontent. In August 2004,
other villagers demanding greater benefits and control over logging
operations attacked a provincial headquarters and fought with police.
One of them that day was David Moi-He, a brawny 34-year-old father of
five and former logging worker. "They raised their guns to us," he
recalled. "We said, `We are unarmed. You can shoot us. We are ready to
die for our land.'"
That is no idle threat in Papua New Guinea. In 1990, citizens in the
province of Bougainville rose up to demand greater financial benefits
and environmental protections from a massive copper mine. Their pleas
sparked a civil war that stretched for nine years and left an
estimated 15,000 dead. Nobody here wants another civil war.
Sometimes, when the day's work is done, Moi-He and friend Kevin Letus
climb up the wooded hillside in the center of Vanimo to watch the logs
being loaded onto cargo ships. One recent night, after the sun dropped
below the mountains, the fork loaders kept working by headlight,
stacking logs beside the shore. Letus, a tall, lean 33-year-old father
of five, studied the cargo vessel in port. "I wish a tsunami would
come along and wash that ship away," he said quietly.
He sat silent for a moment in the tall grass. Watching the ship seemed
to stir his curiosity. "In Asia, they process the wood," he said, "but
what does it become?"
`A hot product'
Ten years ago, virtually no one outside China had ever heard of
Zhangjiagang, a nondescript harbor town two hours from gleaming
Shanghai. Today it is a city transformed by timber wealth.
New five-star hotels host wood buyers and executives from around the
world. Cranes and bulldozers prowl the banks of the Yangtze River,
pulling mammoth logs, stripped of their bark, from cargo ships and
piling them in mounds as tall as the family homes that will someday
use the wood. The log yard is so large that it has street signs.
If Letus, the villager, has little idea where his livelihood goes,
Zhang Rong has no better idea where his comes from.
Trading timber like stocks, Zhang, a chain-smoking 37-year-old, is one
in an army of middlemen that has emerged to shuttle wood into China's
industrial furnace. The traders' unofficial headquarters is the Golden
Triangle, a dingy hotel outdone by its own parking lot dotted with
Mercedes sedans and other badges of China's new capitalists.
"This is a shabby car for the Golden Triangle," said Zhang, steering
his Volkswagen Passat into the lot.
The traders hang their names on brass signs beside smoke-stained hotel
rooms. Their no-tech trading floor is the hotel's half-lit lobby
papered with news of the latest merchandise: "Newly arrived timber
from Africa," said one notice. "Burmese Teak," said another. Most
signs carry a cell phone number. Some traders simply paint their phone
numbers on the logs in the yard.
"Papua New Guinea is a hot product right now, but I don't know much
about it," Zhang said.
All he knows is that Papua New Guinea is the new favorite because an
old favorite has dried up. Indonesia was once one of China's best
suppliers. But last year, Indonesia cracked down on log exports after
concluding that 70 percent of those logs were illegally cut and
shipped without permits, taxes or environmental protections--a vast
illicit harvest that the World Bank predicted would have exhausted
Indonesia's lowland rain forests by 2010.
Many of China's biggest suppliers have similar problems, according to
the World Bank. And the bank estimates that illegal logging accounts
for half of production in Russia's Far East, China's largest source of
timber. In Papua New Guinea, the bank estimates it's 70 percent.
Papua New Guinea's forest ministry did not respond to requests for
comment. But Minister Patrick Pruaitch, a staunch defender of the
logging industry, has blasted critics like Greenpeace and
Washington-based timber watchdog Forest Trends for spotlighting
regulators' audits. Those government reports, Pruaitch has said, are
The next New Guinea
Chinese authorities dispute that their nation's demand fuels illegal
"Import and export of China's log and wood products are strictly
carried out according to Chinese law and international treaties," said
State Forestry Administration spokesman Cao Qingyao.
The average Chinese consumer uses less than one-fifth of the world
average, Cao said. He suggested the U.S. and other larger consumers
take a greater role in protecting distant forests they depend on.
"It takes two-way efforts to crack down on the illegal timber trade,"
A growing number of rich countries agree. Since 2000, the British
central government has required all its contractors to prove that
their wood is legal. To make the grade, most contractors use wood
stamped with the seal of approval from groups such as the Forest
Stewardship Council, which checks forests and factories for good
practices. Japan later adopted a similar policy, and other European
nations are examining how to follow suit.
The U.S. is unlikely to do so, said a senior State Department official
involved in timber policy. U.S. officials believe that funding other
countries to rein in illegal logging within their borders is more
effective than trying to stop U.S. imports of illegal wood.
To that end, three years ago the White House announced the President's
Initiative Against Illegal Logging, devoting $15 million to helping
forest countries such as Liberia better police themselves. U.S. trade
and aid officials also are negotiating with Indonesia and other
countries to promote legal wood exports.
But that prospect has done little to slow the furious pace at the port
of Zhangjiagang. The timber ships from Papua New Guinea and other
countries still arrive at all hours. Zhang Rong and fellow traders
still swap cargo from unfamiliar countries, and China's tens of
thousands of factories still churn out wood products that end up in
China's factory bosses already are looking for the next big timber
country--the next Papua New Guinea. Yao Chengke, general manager of a
flooring maker, knows he can't rely on any single country or species
too long because each country ultimately runs low.
"If America likes it," Yao said, "then eventually it will be gone."
KL govt to blame, say Papua NGOs
Source: The Sun - December 18, 2006
By: Regina William, Penang
The government should take responsibility for the actions of Malaysian
timber and oil palm companies which are the main culprits of illegal
logging and open burning in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Indonesia,
several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) said.
"In the name of bringing foreign investment and development to PNG and
Indonesia, these powerful multi-national companies have caused the
displacement of local communities, particularly indigenous people, the
deprivation of their native customary rights to land, the loss of
their source of livelihood as well as environmental destruction and
degradation," a spokesman for several PNG and Indonesian NGOs said.
The NGOs also said that in PNG, Malaysian companies were responsible
for widespread human right abuses and political corruption. They said
these companies have disgraced Malaysia. They were speaking at a joint
press conference today after a three-day Sahabat Alam Malaysia seminar
on land rights, indigenous people, logging and plantation that saw 40
participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, PNG, Nepal,
India, Chile and the Netherlands.
The logging industry in PNG is dominated by Malaysian companies with
one Malaysian company owning five of the 12 major logging projects
while in Indonesia, Malaysian companies are said to be responsible for
widespread illegal logging, especially along the Kalimantan-Sarawak-
The group's spokesman, Indonesian Muhamad Yayat Afianto, said last
year, Indonesian police released a wanted list of 16 Malaysian company
whose companies were involved in these illegal activities. He claimed
that seven Malaysian-owned companies have been clearing forests in
Central Kalimantan without proper permits from the Indonesian Forestry
Ministry and at least five companies in Riau and another five in
Central Kalimantan have used fire to clear the forest for plantations.
"Malaysian companies are also responsible for laundering millions of
cubic metres of illegal Indonesian timber each year. "Timber from
illegal logging in Riau, Sumatra are illegally imported into Malaysia
and laundered in Malacca, Batu Pahat, Muar and Port Klang before being
re-exported to China, Japan, Europe and the US. "Illegal logs from
Kalimantan are also smuggled into Sarawak and Sabah where they are
laundered with Malaysian forestry documents and exported to Peninsular
Malaysia and foreign markets," Yayat claimed.
He said the Malaysian government could not abandon its obligations to
prevent the country's reputation from being marred by these companies.
"It owes a moral obligation to the PNG and Indonesian people to ensure
its companies behave responsibly," he added. Chair of Friends of the
Earth International, Meenakshi Raman, said: "The government is always
talking about Malaysians overseas who are champions but if these are
our champions, we should bury our heads in shame."
"The government cannot say that it is PNG or Indonesia's problem and
remain quiet," she added.
10 years to live: Orang-utan faces extinction in the wild
Source: The Independent (UK) - December 18, 2006
The great ape's habitat is rapidly being destroyed - by the rush to
produce an environmentally friendly fuel
At least 1,000 orang-utans have been killed in fierce forest fires in
Indonesia, hastening the species' headlong rush to extinction within
the next decade.
The fires, the worst in a decade and which reached their peak last
month, sent a thick pall of smoke across the region, closing airports
and forcing drivers to use headlights at noon. Conservationists
believe that many were deliberately lit to make room for plantations
to grow palm oil - much of it, ironically, to meet the world's growing
demand for environmentally friendly fuel.
Their greatest victim is the orang-utan - Asia's only great ape -
which is so endangered that many experts believe that it will become
extinct in the wild over the next 10 years. Some 50,000 of them, at
most, still survive, and about 5,000 are thought to perish every year
as the rainforests on which they depend are felled.
Originally some 300,000 of the apes - championed by Sadie Frost in the
ITV series Extinct, which ended last night - lived throughout
South-east Asia. But now they survive only in isolated pockets on the
islands of Borneo and Sumatra. In the past 20 years, 80 per cent of
their habitat has been destroyed - and only about 2 per cent of what
remains is legally protected in reserves.
"Orang-utans are in catastrophic decline and everything that is being
done to protect them is not up to the challenge," said Ian Redmond,
chairman of the Ape Alliance, an international coalition of
conservation bodies and an adviser to the United Nations Environment
Programme. "It is all looking pretty bleak."
The International Fund for Animal Welfare predicts that they will be
extinct within 10 years. Other estimates vary either side of that
figure. WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) puts it at 20 years,
Friends of the Earth at 12, and the Borneo Orang-utan Survival
Foundation at just four.
The apes - whose name means "man of the forest" - are one of our
closest relatives, sharing about 97 per cent of our DNA. Spending most
of their time in the treetops, they mainly live on their own. Mothers
keep their babies with them for up to six years, and have a single
baby every eight years or so. This leisurely rate of reproduction -
the slowest of all the great apes - makes the species particularly
They have long been threatened by the pet trade: the number of the
apes per square kilometre in Taiwan's capital, Taipei, is now greater
than in their natural rainforest homes. For every one that is sold as
a pet, five or six are thought to die. And they are also killed for meat.
But it is the destruction of the rainforest - which used to cover the
whole of Borneo - that is much the greatest threat. It has long been
cleared for logging and agriculture, but this has accelerated to meet
the booming demand for palm oil, used in one in every 10 products on
supermarket shelves - and now to feed the growing drive for biofuel,
the "green" alternative to petrol and diesel.
The Indonesian government is trying to persuade companies to put their
plantations on already deforested and degraded land, but with little
success as they can get a double dividend from virgin forests, first
by selling the timber, and then from harvesting palm oil cultivated on
the cleared ground.
Oil spills pollute waters of Seribu Island group
Source: Antara News - December 18, 2006
Oil spills that occurred over a three-year period (2003-2005) have
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