July 15th, 2010 – Greenpeace activists blocked a barge carrying thousands of cubic metres of timber from the rainforests of the Kampar Peninsula in Sumatra. The activists unfurled a banner reading ‘APRIL stop trashing our future’ and urged pulp and paper company APRIL and the Indonesian government to stop forest destruction.
Around 25 activists stopped the loading of a barge carrying logs from Kampar’s carbon rich peatland forests destined for APRIL’ s pulp mill in Pangkalan Kerinci. This is the second time Greenpeace activists have taken action to stop APRIL destroying the natural forest of Kampar. After a Greenpeace action in October 2009, the Minister for Forests ordered the temporary suspension of APRIL operations. The order was delivered in front of the Teluk Meranti community, and the Minister also promised to resolve this matter within two weeks by forming an independent team to conduct a review of the permit.
“However in March this year, the Ministry of Forestry issued Rencana Kerja Tahunan (RKT – Cutting Permits) to convert 22 thousand hectares in Kampar Peninsula without conducting the promised legal and legislative review of APRIL’s existing permits. The Minister also broke his promise to resolve conflicts between the company and the community,” said Zulfahmi,Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Campaigner.
With this RKT, APRIL has resumed its destructive practices in Kampar, despite local communities from Teluk Meranti and Teluk Binjai still opposing the clearing. This action follows a Greenpeace report released last week exposing the role that Sinar Mas’s APP, another pulp and paper giant, is playing in driving massive deforestation, tiger habitat loss and peatland destruction also in the island of Sumatra.
“APRIL and APP’s operations are driving massive deforestation and expose the contradiction between President Yudhoyono’s international commitments to stop deforestation and the actions of his Forestry Ministry. Destruction of the Kampar Peninsula and Sumatra’s peat forests is devastating for the thousands of people dependent on the forests for their livelihoods, their unique biodiversity and the carbon they store.”
President Yudhoyono recently announced a freeze on new concessions on forests and peatlands from 2011 under a USD $1 billion deal with Norway to reduce Indonesia’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. However, millions of hectares of forests already allocated for conversion – including hundreds of thousands of hectares under APP and APRIL control – are not part of the deal with Norway.?
“Instead of handing over our last remaining rainforests to companies like APRIL and APP, the Government should be supporting community initiatives to restore the peatlands and hence mitigate climate change. This is an opportunity for the government to choose our precious natural heritage and the future generations of Indonesians over the greed of destructive pulp and paper companies,” concluded Zulfahmi.??
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