Indonesia — Indonesia destroys about 51 square kilometers of forests everyday, equivalent to 300 football fields every hour — a figure, which should earnthe country a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s fastestdestroyer of forests.
The group based this calculation on data from the UN Food& Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) recent ‘State of the World’sForests 2007’ report. According to the report, ten countries account for80 percent of the world’s primary forests, of which Indonesia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and Brazil saw the highest losses between 2000 and 2005.
“The exceptional and mind-boggling rate of forest destruction in Indonesia qualifies it to enter the Guinness book of World Records andjoin Brazil, which holds the current record for largest forest areasdestroyed worldwide,” said Hapsoro, Greenpeace Southeast Asia ForestCampaigner.
“These new figures demonstrate a lack of political will and power by the Indonesian government a to stop Indonesia’s runaway deforestation rates. A series of natural disasters in recent years, floods, forest fires, landslides, droughts, massive erosion are all linked to the unprecedented destruction of our forests. Forest fires from concessionsand plantations have already made Indonesia the world’s third biggestcontributor of greenhouse gases,” Mr Hapsoro said. To make its point,Greenpeace activists dressed as loggers, chain-sawed a 20-meter wooden wallsymbolizing the Indonesian forests in a demonstration at the Proclamation Monument, Central Jakarta on Friday.Greenpeace supporters, celebrities, politicians and musicians participatedin the activity.
According to the FAO, Indonesia’s deforestation rate from 2000-2005 reached 1.8 million hectares/year. This rate is lower than the officialrate declared by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, of 2.8 millionhectares/year. Indonesia is second only to Brazil which, with 3.1 millionhectares lost per year, the FAO puts at the top of the list for thelargest deforestation area., However, since the Indonesia’s total forestarea is much smaller than Brazil’s, the deforestation rate is higher.Indonesia’s deforestation rate is 2% every year, compared to Brazil’s0.6%.
“We need a moratorium on commercial logging operations nationwide to protect what is left of this fast diminishing resource. Public pressure isneeded to force the government to recognize the enormity of this problemand to take action immediately. We are therefore calling on the Indonesianpeople to join us as Forest Defenders(1) and demand a stop to all largescale and destructive logging activities responsible for wiping out ourforests at such a fast rate,” Mr Hapsoro said.
“This record is something the people of Indonesia should not be proud of, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We take pride in many things thiscountry has to offer. It is after all the world’s largest archipelagicstate with more than 18,000 islands. It supports the world’s secondhighest level of biodiversity, and is a critical carbon sink for theplanet. It is crucial now that the people of Indonesia take action topressure our government to stop this destruction,” he added.