Over 1m hectares of rainforest still condemned in Indonesian deal

Last edited 27 May 2010 at 11:48am
27 May, 2010

A DEAL announced today to protect Indonesia's rainforests still does not protect millions of hectares of rainforest, home to some of the last remaining orangutans, warned Greenpeace. 

Indonesia will stop handing out permits for companies to chop down rainforests and drain peatlands for two years under the agreement. But those companies that have already received permission will still be allowed to trash large areas of the remaining rainforests. 

And there is concern that there could be a rush to get permits before the government starts its temporary halt. 

One company alone, called the Sinar Mas Group, has a land bank of around a million hectares earmarked for future development. Under this new announcement Sinar Mas will still be free to trash forest and peatland to make way for its palm oil and pulp and paper plantations. 

A Greenpeace report published earlier this year detailed how Sinar Mas is destroying the Indonesian rainforest and, by doing so, is causing more climate changing emissions. 

Greenpeace is asking Indonesian president Yudhoyono to include all existing permits to clear rainforests in the deal, and not just new permits. 

Ian Duff, forests campaigner for Greenpeace, said: "President Yudhoyono could be known as the man that protected Indonesia's rainforests and rescued the orangutans. And it's extremely encouraging that he's gone this far. 

"But now he's got to close the loophole in this deal that lets companies like Sinar Mas continue to trash the rainforest." 

The UK government pledged £50million in January to tackle deforestation in Indonesia, and a further £250million for tackling deforestation globally.

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