Sunday, 14 March 2010

Letters: Oil palm forest?

Letters: Oil palm forest?

Wed, 02/24/2010 Opinion

I can only be suspicious that the plan by the Forest Ministry to classify oil palm plantations as "forest" is for statistical and propaganda purposes. Oil palm plantations are just another agricultural crop and no different to cocoanut, cocoa, mango, papaya, banana, etc.

A forest is usually native species and more an ecosystem, not an agricultural crop. Oil palm plantations are non-native species and are all but sterile when it comes to wildlife; they are not an ecosystem.

So when more huge tracts of our already-threatened native forest (an ecosystem) are destroyed and converted, with resulting massive increases in carbon emissions, to oil palm plantations (an industrial agricultural crop) we will not have to record that as deforestation because statistically it will still be "forest".

The ministry can smile again. And the world will not even notice that anything has happened and can be happy that Indonesia has at last stopped "deforestation". Who are they trying to fool? As the famous saying goes: "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics".