Saturday, 30 May 2009




After this you can expect to see a lot of news added!

Thank you for your patience.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Local people `should benefit' from REDD

Personal note: Does anyone want to guess where REDD money will go? One thing you can be confident about is, it won't reach local communities.


Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 05/23/2009

The government should use the impetus of carbon trading from the forestry sector to settle long-standing problems over forest ownership, if the country is to benefit from the reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) scheme, activists have urged.

Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) said Friday the lack of clear status of indigenous peoples and local communities managing the country's forests would become the main snag in implementing the REDD mechanism in Indonesia.

"The crucial work now is how to settle land and forest tenure problems if Indonesia is to benefit from the REDD," FWI coordinator for public campaign and policy dialogue Wirendro Sumargo told The Jakarta Post.

The government claims Indonesia has about 120 million hectares of rainforests, making it the world's third-largest forest country after Brazil and the D.R. Congo.

The 1999 forestry law stipulates all forested lands are owned by the state. The law allows local communities and indigenous people to manage the forests, but with the state in full ownership.

FWI said local communities living around forests would become the first victims if no clear regulation on their status on forest ownership was issued.

Under the REDD mechanism, carbon absorbed in protected forests through the mechanism can be traded to developed nations to help them meet emissions cut targets.

In return, forest countries receive financial incentives for projects, based on the amount of carbon absorbed in the forests.

The government has yet to determine the sharing of financial benefits from the projects.

The financing mechanism for the REDD is likely to be part of a climate protection regime to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Yvo de Boer, Head of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, said the REDD would very likely be included in this December's Copenhagen climate pact.

The government has issued a ministerial decree on the REDD, paving the way for local communities, local and foreign companies, and local administrations to host REDD projects.

Permits for REDD projects will be given to people or groups with ownership certificates to manage forests.

However, most indigenous people do not have such certificates, although a study by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) confirmed they played a big role in efforts to tackle climate change through the REDD.

It said the lack of certainty would make local people vulnerable to dispossession as land values rose.

A status of (certified) tenure would "give them more leverage in relation to the government and the private sector," the report said.

"So *their status as* tenure is key."

Sarawak Will Have Biggest Oil Palm Area Under Felcra By 2010

May 25, 2009

Sarawak Will Have Biggest Oil Palm Area Under Felcra By 2010

KUCHING, May 25 (Bernama) -- Felcra will develop another 11,000 hectares of land in Sarawak for oil palm cultivation by 2010, its chairman Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said here today.

With the completion of the project, he said, Felcra Berhad would have developed 55,000ha for oil palm, the biggest for Felcra as this made up 36 per cent of the total area in the country developed by the agency for oil palm, compared to 52,000ha in Pahang currently.

"We see that Sarawak still has a lot of land banks with the potential of being developed into oil palm plantations compared to the peninsula, and this will also help the government develop its (Sarawak) rural areas," he said after attending a briefing at Felcra's Sarawak office.

Tajuddin said 44,000ha of land in Sarawak had so far been developed by Felcra, out of which 22,000ha had started producing.

He said the three new areas to have agropolitan projects would be Batang Sadong, Batang Lupar and Pulau Beruit, involving 6,534ha and 3,700 participants altogether.

Besides that, he added, Felcra would also set up two people's estates, involving 4,571ha, this year .

"Felcra's current focus is on economic, physical and human capital development as part of efforts to overcome the effects of the global economic slowdown."

Felcra now has some 94,000 project participants, including 5,544 in Sarawak, with accumulated dividends given out amounting to RM3.5 billion of which RM72 million went to the participants in Sarawak.

Tajuddin said Felcra was also working at attracting more participants and encouraging their family members to work in the oil palm estates developed by Felcra so as to reduce the country's dependence on foreign labour for work, such as harvesting the oil palm fruits.

He said Felcra was now hiring 20,000 people for plantation work, including 8,000 foreigners whom it aimed to reduce to 4,000.


Fire on Elephant Conservation Forest (palm oil implicated)

Fire on Elephant Conservation Forest
Monday, 25 May, 2009

TEMPO Interactive, Riau:A fire swept the Sultan Syarif Kasim Forest Park area at the Siak – Pekanbaru border in Riau, yesterday. “There was a big fire and it caused panic among the local people,” said Riau Forestry Office chief, Zulkifly Yusuf, in Pekanbaru, yesterday.

“The fire was under control after 10 hours,” Zulkifly said, adding that at least 75 hectares of the area was scorched. He suspected that the national park area intended for elephant conservation was intentionally set on fire by a palm oil company to expand their plantation area in Siak regency.

Until yesterday afternoon, fire fighters were still trying to put out the fire to prevent it from spreading. According to Zulkifly, the fire, which began on Friday, was halted on Saturday.

The case is now being handled by an integrated team. The staff, Zulkifly said, have questioned the local people and palm oil managers near the area.

The Sultan Syarif Kasim Forest Park is a protected forest spread over three regencies and cities in Riau. The 7.000 hectare-area is part of Pekanbaru city and the regencies of Kampar and Siak.

Although the area is designated a national park, until today, hundreds of plantation companies and local people continue to clear land around it to expand their plantations.

Riau Forest Rescue coordinator, Susanto Kurniawan, said reducing this national park, have caused the elephant’s habitat to shrink and can no longer be categorized as a protected forest.

“More than 30 percent of the forest have been planted with palm oil trees. Ironically, not one offender has been brought to court,” said Susanto.

JUPERNALIS SAMOSIR,20090525-177920,uk.html

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Orangutans cannibalise own babies

This link takes you to the original source and a video.


Two female orangutans have been seen cannibalising the bodies of their recently deceased babies.

Such behaviour has never before been recorded in any great ape species.

The two incidences occurred just one month apart in the same region of forest in Indonesia.

The conservationist who witnessed both incidences suspects they were examples of aberrant behaviour, triggered by stressful living conditions suffered by both mothers.

Humans aside, chimpanzees were the only great apes known to engage in cannibalism, the eating of members of the same species. The behaviour had also been inferred but not seen in gorillas, after the remains of infants were found in the faeces of two adults.

But until now, no ape has been recorded eating its own offspring.

"Cannibalism has been documented in chimpanzees and reported in gorillas. Never before has any ape species been seen treating its own offspring as a consumable resource," says David Dellatore of Oxford Brookes University, in Oxford, UK.

That was until Dellatore begun tracking orangutans living in Bukit Lawang, an area of forest within the Gunung Leuser National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Dellatore, who now works with the Sumatran Orangutan Society based in Medan, Sumatra, initially monitored the physical health of once captive orangutans that have been rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

But soon he noticed that tourists in the area were interacting closely with the apes. Despite a ban on doing so, some tourists would feed or touch the semi-wild apes. So Dellatore switched his research to monitoring the behavioural health of the orangutans, following them from dawn till dusk.

During this research he twice witnessed female apes he recognised eating the corpses of their recently deceased babies.

"While following Edita, whose infant had just died in the forest, on the eighth day myself and my assistant Tumino saw her begin to consume the corpse," Dellatore says.

"At first we did not believe it, but there was no mistaking it. Edita was engaging in filial, or mother-infant cannibalism."

"Then a month later I was following Ratna by myself, whose infant had also just died, and observed her also cannibalising her dead infant."

Seeing the first instance surprised Dellatore, while he found the second even more shocking.

"Such behaviour had never been seen before in more than four decades of orangutan research. Surely it's not happening here twice in a one month period?" Dellatore recalls asking himself.

But Dellatore managed to collect further evidence of the second event. "I recovered a fallen piece of the infant's skeleton that Ratna spat out, as well as rather clear video footage of the event."

Grieving mothers

Dellatore is unsure why the orangutans behaved so. "It makes little evolutionary sense for orangutan females to kill their infants, nor is there any evidence that this happened here," he reports in the journal Primates.

But he points out that it is not uncommon for orangutans and other nonhuman primate mothers to carry their deceased infants. "It may be part of a grieving process," he says.

Indeed, Edita, a 23 year old female, carried and protected the body of her one year old infant for seven days, occasionally inspecting it while vocalising a whimper. Only on the eighth day did she start to consume it, when it was already heavily decomposed. Twenty year old Ratna's seven month old infant appeared unwell a few days before death.

Dellatore is reluctant to make any definitive claims as to why the behaviour occurred. But he suspects that the mothers' stressed upbringing may have triggered their later actions.

"Semi-wild orangutans are all exposed to considerable traumas, such as witnessing the deaths of their own mothers," he says. To feed the pet trade, an orangutan is often captured from the wild as an infant, with its mother being killed as she would not otherwise let her baby go. Captive orangutans also suffer long periods of social isolation.

"Studies have shown that early social deprivation can have deleterious effects on later levels of cognitive ability. It is possible that the cannibalism events are an extension of these effects," he says.

Although rare, mothers have been recorded cannibalising their infants in a few species of monkey. In galagoes, another primate species also known as bushbabies, the behaviour has been linked to stressful living conditions.

The presence of tourists may also be stressing the apes.

Dellatore supports proper ecotourism in the area, which can bring in important funds that can help conserve the great apes. But he says too many tourists visit and interact with the apes without a sense of environmental or social responsibility.

His organisation is running an ecotourism development programme in Bukit Lawang to try and mitigate these problems.