Jakarta — WALHI-Friends of the Earth Indonesia today welcomes and plays host to Greenpeace and its famous boat, the Rainbow Warrior. Greenpeace arrival demonstrates increasing international attention to the Indonesian forests crisis. From January 21-23, 2004, WALHI-Friends of the Earth Indonesia, the largest forum of environmental organizations in Indonesia, will work with Greenpeace to communicate to the world the dire state of Indonesian forests and the need for world support to save what’s left of them.
WALHI rates the crisis faced by Indonesian forests at “red alert”. Logging activities both legal and illegal combine to produce out-of-control forest destruction throughout the archipelago.
Longgena Ginting, Executive Director of WALHI-FoE Indonesia, stated, “The Indonesian Government acknowledges that the current rate of deforestation has reached 3.8 million hectares per year, double the rate of five years ago. This means that Indonesia loses 7.2 hectares every minute.”
This destructive logging not only results in loss of biodiversity and endemic species habitat, further degradation of natural resources, but has also caused a series of ecological disasters throughout Indonesia, such as floods, landslides, and forest fires which claim hundreds of lives annually. Furthermore, over 40 million local and indigenous people whose lives depend on forest resources are increasingly impoverished by this forest destruction.
Numerous efforts to save Indonesian forests have failed because they do not address the underlying problems of forestry in Indonesia, such as corruption, marginalisation of indigenous rights, and dysfunctional wood industries. In the midst of this crisis, WALHI believes only a radical solution will succeed: give the forests some breathing space while we reorganise forest management to become more sustainable.
“WALHI is campaigning for a logging moratorium. The moratorium must be accompanied by the implementation of an action plan and forestry policy review,” added Ginting.
WALHI calls on the international community to take concrete action to save Indonesian forests by not consuming Indonesian timber and forest products. This call extends to a request to halt consumption of tropical timber sold out of Malaysia due to concerns that much Indonesian timber is “laundered” in Malaysia.
WALHI believes that only a logging moratorium will save the remaining Indonesian forests from total destruction and be a solution to the ecological disasters of the past five years which have cost millions of dollars in government expenditure. A logging moratorium will also put a stop to the loss of government revenue through timber theft.
“Currently, 80% of logging is illegal, therefore a logging moratorium will not bankrupt Indonesia, in fact, it will enrich the nation in the long run. This logging moratorium will prevent the loss of up to a billion US dollars through illegal logging,” concluded Ginting.
WALHI advises the government to develop a scheme to reallocate the work force from the logging industry into forest rehabilitation programs by using the existing forest rehabilitation funds.
Longgena Ginting, Executive Director, WALHI-FoE Indonesia Tel: +62-811 927-038
Ade Fadli, Forest Campaigner, WALHI-FoE Indonesia Tel: +62-816 4838 087
Estee, International Outreach, WALHI-FoE Indonesia Tel: +62-811 89 53 29