Saturday, October 07, 2006

Greenpeace discovers culprits behind the haze

Greenpeace South East Asia activists literally smoked out the Ministry of Forestry in Jakarta to highlight its consistent failure to halt forest conversion that causes forest fires which perennially choke countries in Southeast Asia. They also revealed the biggest culprit behind the haze. From Greenpeace:
The forests in Sumatra and Kalimantan, site of ongoing widespread forest destruction, are also home to of some of the world’s most endangered animals like the Sumatran rhinoceros, tiger, Oranga Utan and the Asian elephant. The forests are cleared and converted into pulpwood and oil palm plantations. Forest clearing is the leading cause of the fires and is major a factor in creating environmental conditions that perpetuate the problem.

”During our investigations last month, we discovered that big industrial concessionaires, more than small farmers, were responsible for these forest fires,” said Hapsoro, Forest Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “Clearly any new concessions for conversion of virgin forests will continue to result in large-scale forest fires and continued environmental destruction on an annual basis. The Forest Minister must immediately stop all new conversions to minimize the possibility of large and uncontrolled forest fires in Indonesia,” he added.
To prevent the haze, Greenpeace says that the Indonesian authorities need to:
1. Stop all forest clearing in fragile peatland eco-systems, including the extension of new area for both pulpwood and oil palm plantation.

2. Investigate and hold liable plantation companies responsible for slash and burn clearing,

3. Put in place permanent mechanisms to build capacity to assess vulnerability, develop regional climate models and design and assess adaptation strategies that consider the vulnerability of local communities and indigenous species.

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