Saturday, 11 October 2008

Greenpeace warns of forest conversion

The Jakarta Post , October 11, 2008

Greenpeace warns of forest conversion

JAKARTA: International environment group Greenpeace has uncovered new evidence of a massive project converting forest area into palm oil plantations in Lereh area, Jayapura regency, Papua, which it says will have catastrophic consequences for the area's residents and biodiversity.

"Just three months ago, this area, like much of Papua, was pristine forest. What we see today is forest clearing on a massive scale, including evidence of land burning to prepare the land for palm oil," Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said Thursday.

Bustar said palm oil companies had been amassing large areas of land to be used for palm oil plantations at the expense of local land owners.

The Lereh forests contains a wealth of primary sago and nipah plants, which are crucial to the survival of locals, Greenpeace announced.
The rapid expansion of palm oil plantations is the biggest contributor to deforestation in the country, Greenpeace said.

Greenpeace campaigners are staying aboard ship MV Ezperanza during their visit to Papua, which ends Nov. 15. -- JP