Friday, 23 May 2008

EC-RI FLEGT project takes journalists to Danau Sentarum National Park

05/23/08 14:03

EC-RI FLEGT project takes journalists to Danau Sentarum National Park Pontianak, West Kalimantan,

May 23 (ANTARA) - The EC-Indonesia FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Support Project is organizing a field trip for journalists to Danau Sentarum National Park from May 23 to 27, 2008.

The trip is aimed at finding facts in the field on the threat posed by the expansion of oil-palm plantation areas to the survival of the national park, according to Lorens, a spokesman of the EC-Indonesia FLEGT Support Project in West Kalimantan, here on Friday.

"More than 10 local and national media have confirmed their intention to participate in the tour," Lorens said.Previously, Budi Suriansyah of the Danau Sentarum National Park in Kapuas Hulu District, had said the local administration and investors were clearing forest areas for oil-palm plantations at an increasing rate.

Illegal logging and forest area clearing for plantations were threatening the park`s biological diversity, he said.He said Betung Kerihun National Park which was an important water source for Danau Sentarum National Park had been completely deforested by illegal loggers, including those from Malaysia, during 2000-2004, he said.Around 11 oil-palm plantation companies and nine subsidiaries of PT Sinar Mas were currently clearing about 160,000 hectares of forest area near the border of the Betung Kerihun National Park, he said.

According to forestry ministry data , the Danau Sentarum National Park is a 132,000-ha area of open lakes and seasonally flooded swamp forests.Surrounded by hills and highland, Lake Sentarum constitutes an important water catchment area, and at the same time regulates the water flows through the Kapuas watershed.

Danau Sentarum National Park is home to a wide variety of fish species estimated to number 120. Among them are the Asian bony tongue (Scleropages formosus), belida (Notopterus chitala), toman (Channa micropeltes), betutu (Oxyeleotris marmorata), jelawat (Leptobarbus hoeveni), ketutung (Balantiocheilos melanopterus), and the beautiful clown loach (Botia macracanthus).

Other animals like proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), orangutan (Pongo satyrus), estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), false gavial (Tomistoma schlegelii), siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), great argus (Argusianus argus grayi), and wooly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus stormi) also inhabit the Park. EC-Indonesia FLEGT Support Project is a cooperation project between the Indonesia governemnt and the European Union with the objective of promoting the role of forests in the sustainable and equitable development of Indonesia.

The EC-Indonesia FLEGT Support Project together with nine other projects funded by the European Commission will participate in the annual Indonesian Environment Week to be held at the Jakarta Convention Center from June 5 to 8, 2008.