Greenpeace Aims to Expose Indonesian Forest Destruction

JAKARTA ~ Environmental activists Greenpeace said this week they had sent dozens of activists to Sumatra to collect evidence of the continued destruction of Indonesia’s fast-dwindling forests.

“We set up a forest defenders camp prior to a climate change conference in Bali (in) December to bring the global attention to the problem of forest destruction and deforestation in Indonesia,” Greenpeace forest campaigner Sue Connor told reporters here.

Indonesia has been criticized for its failure to stem widespread illegal logging, which Greenpeace says has been responsible for the destruction of around two million hectares of forest per year between 2000 and 2005.

The group says that recent estimates show Indonesia is the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States, mainly due to the destruction of its peatland forests.

Connor said Riau province in Sumatra was chosen as the focus of the campaign because of the massive destruction of its peatland forests to make way for oil palm plantations.

The group’s activists will be assisted by local communities in spotting and fighting forest fires, conducting peatland depth surveys and undertaking a biodiversity assessment.

Connor said an agreement to end deforestation must be included in the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

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