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[INCL English] Indonesian Nature Conservation newsLetter 9-46a

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  • John MacDougall
    The INCL Team: Evi Indraswati | Widia Lastiana | Muchamad Muchtar | Ed Colijn Email: incl.contact@gmail.com Issue 9-46a, December 26th, 2006 1. CALL: 2007 SCB
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 26, 2006
      The INCL Team:
      Evi Indraswati | Widia Lastiana | Muchamad Muchtar | Ed Colijn
      Email: incl.contact@...
      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
      promoted re-growth?
      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


      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
      Hello all,

      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
      capacity building'.

      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

      Thank you!

      Nejem Raheem
      PhD Candidate
      Department of Economics
      University of New Mexico
      Albuquerque, NM 87131
      505-277-5558 voice
      505-277-9445 fax

      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
      complete report

      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
      online form).

      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
      orang-utan lover.

      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
      dangerous-looking Unjuk.

      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
      Kusasi's grip.

      "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
      beaten up.

      "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
      Pangkalan Bun.

      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
      beloved jungle.

      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
      RSPO E-Update

      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
      this period.

      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
      Gland, Switzerland

      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.

      END NOTES:

      * The 52 new species were discovered between July 2005 and
      September 2006.
      * 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:
      Username: intranet@...
      * 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
      Email: schapman@...

      Olivier van Bogaert, Senior Press Officer
      WWF International
      Tel: +41 22 364 9554
      Email: ovanbogaert@...

      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)
      and (4)]
      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.
      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,
      nothing changed."

      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
      the U.S.

      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
      plot nearby.

      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
      "mere allegations."
      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,"
      Cao said.

      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
      American homes.

      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-
      Sabah border.

      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
      polluted the wat<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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