Indonesia poised for World Record as fastest destroyer of forests

Indonesiapoised for World Record as fastest destroyer of forests

16 March 2007

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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.

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