Indonesia Makes It To 2008 Guinness World Records As Fastest

Indonesia Makes It To 2008 Guinness World Records As FastestForest Destroyer

3 May 2007

published by Greenpeace South East Asia

Indonesia — The next edition of the Guinness Book of World Records will include acitation for Indonesia as the country with the fastest rate of forest destruction among countries which comprise 90% of the world’s remainingforests. Indonesia is destroying an area of forest equivalent to 300 football fields every hour. It has already lost 72% of its large intactancient forests (1) and half of what remains is threatened by commerciallogging, forest fires and clearances for palm oil plantations (2).

The Guinness World Records, considered a global authority on record breakingachievements, confirmed to Greenpeace that this unfortunate record will feature in its 2008 record book to be published in September thisyear. (3)

The citation from the Guinness book will read as follows: “Of the 44 countries which collectively account for 90% of the world’s forests, thecountry which pursues the highest annual rate of deforestation is Indonesia with 1.8 million ha (4,447,896 acres) of forest destroyed each year between2000-2005, a rate of 2 per cent annually or 51 km² (20 miles²) destroyed every day. (4)”

“It is sad and tragic that among countries with significant forest cover left, Indonesia has the fastest rates of forest destruction. Every 30minutes, a forest area as wide as the National Monument (MoNas) Park in Jakarta is being wiped out. It is a national shame for Indonesia to ownthis distinction in the record books,” said Hapsoro, Forest Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to stem the tide of forest destruction in the country by imposing a moratorium on commerciallogging operations in natural forest areas nationwide. The group contends that a moratorium is a necessary first step in arresting the country’srunaway deforestation rates in order to give the forests some time to recover. The moratorium should also be used to review and re-orientIndonesia’s existing forest policies which currently favor interests promoting destruction rather than protection.

The forestry sector in Indonesia is plagued by lawlessness, corruption and forestplunder, which the Indonesian Government is failing to control.

International demand for timber and paper, as well as commodities such as palm oil is also driving this destruction.

“Only Indonesia can protect its forests and the people who depend on them, but governments of the EU, China, Japan and North America must also makesure that their countries do not become clearing houses for products of forestdestruction. Otherwise, this dishonor belongs to them as well,” said Hapsoro.

Indonesia’s record rates of destruction make the country not only the fastest forest destroyer but also the third largest greenhouse polluterfollowing the United States and China. Up to 25% of greenhouse gas emissions comes from tropical forestclearance. (5) 

The record breaker was announced as the governors of three Indonesian provinces recently held discussions with the international community onpossible joint efforts to prevent deforestation and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Reduced or avoided deforestation is also one of thesolutions being considered for mitigating climate change at the Third working group meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change nowtaking place in Bangkok.

Greenpeace is an independent campaign organization, which uses non-violent, confrontational creative strategies to address global environmentalproblems, and promote solutions essential for a green and peaceful future.

Notes to Editors:

(1) Roadmap to recovery, 2006, Greenpeace International (see:
(2) World Resources Institute, 1997, The Last Frontier Forests.
(3) Copies of the certificate from Guinness World Records that confirms the world record are available on request.
(4) While Indonesia destroys its forests faster than any other country, Brazil destroys a larger area of forest every year.
(5) Houghton, RA (2003) Revised estimates of the annual net flux of carbon to the atmosphere from changes in land use and land management 1850 – 2000.Tellus 55B: 378-90; Houghton, RA (2005a) Tropical Deforestation as a source of greenhouse emissions.

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