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May 15, 2006

Indonesian Rainforest Victory as Large Orangutan Habitat Safe for Now from Oil Palm

Ecological Internet's Earth Action Network Spearheads Major Victory for Rainforest Movement

OrangutanUnder intense international pressure the Indonesian government has virtually abandoned plans to convert large areas of ancient rainforests, prime habitat for the endangered Orangutan, into a massive oil palm plantation. The original plan called for 1.8 million hectares (nearly 7,000 square miles or 18,000 square kilometers) of mainly native forests to be converted into a mega oil palm plantation along over 850 kilometers of the Indonesia-Malaysia border.

In an abrupt about-face, the Agriculture Minister (formerly the project's chief advocate) last week announced only 180,000 hectares are now deemed suitable for oil palm development. Given long-standing objections by the Forestry and Environment ministries, the larger project is effectively dead for now. International protest in support of local rainforest peoples and conservationists is responsible for reducing the project's expanse by 90%.

"Destruction of ancient rainforests and other habitat worldwide is now an international as well as local issue, as the Internet has globalized movements for rainforest conservation and global ecological sustainability," notes Dr. Glen Barry, President of Ecological Internet. "Those that participated in the campaign must celebrate; because of their action, millions of year old ancient rainforest treasures have been given a reprieve."

While many groups are active in orangutan conservation and protection of the "Heart of Borneo", Ecological Internet was the first to launch a major Internet campaign on the matter. In Ecological Internet's largest email protest ever, their network bombarded the Indonesian government with several hundred thousand protest emails. Ecological Internet's international network grew by over 20% as the campaign surged across the Internet. Several other organizations carried out letter writing campaigns based upon their campaign strategies and information.

"Indonesia's rainforests remain critically endangered, and their continued widespread loss threatens regional ecosystem sustainability and development potential. But for the time being, a huge swathe of very special and important ancient rainforests will remain intact. Our next immediate priority is to continue protesting China's plans to log other Indonesian rainforests for Olympic construction."

The announcement does not mean vital orangutan habitat has achieved meaningful permanent protection. Ecological Internet's network will continue to protest any oil palm development there and anywhere in primary rainforests, remain vigilante against a resurrection of the project as originally conceived, and monitor logging concessions and illegal logging in the area. And Indonesia's informal commitment to fully protect the "Heart of Borneo" with Malaysia and Brunei will continue to be supported.

Dr. Barry notes "this successful international protest shows what is possible when grassroots organizations seek an end to ancient forest destruction, rather than the big groups negotiating acceptable logging volumes. The age of industrial development of ancient forests is over - even governments and loggers are getting the message."

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Contact: Dr. Glen Barry, +1 920 776 1075, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org


Support online or via mail this and similar Earth Action campaigns, the Rainforest Portal and Ecological Internet.


Comments

Thanks for all your efforts to get th eword out, Margaret hadderman of Silver City (about to send contribution)

What are they doing with all of the palm oil other using it in some foods,
which I don't buy?

Wonderful!!!!

Good news. But do keep me posted should hear anything more about china
using illegal wood in its Olympic building campaign.

Cheers,

Mike

YAY!!!!!! :) IM SOOOOO HAPPY!!!

Hello folks,

Sounds good but I am very skeptical. I have experience of happenings in Borneo and know for a fact that the Indonesian Government make statements to appease international concerns then go ahead and do under-the-counter deals when the spotlight is off them. Do you have people on the ground constantly monitoring all endangered areas so they can spot any hostile activity - e.g. appearance of non-locals; commencement of surveys; movement of machinery and equipment; and even the instigation of so-called animal welfare studies which are really a cover for destructive operations?

Having just returned from living overseas, with 3 friends from Borneo, I followed the organgutan's plight with great interest. Good on ya for all your efforts, Doctor!

That's good news...let's hope it stays that way. Keep up the great work!

yaaaaaaaaaaaaa im so happy because orangutangs are so cute......

I am researching Indonesian Rainforests as a project and I personally think that it is dreadful that their cutting down so many animals habitat so that there richer. I am sure that there are other trees that are grown to chop down we can use. (Pine trees) Trees that are cut-down then grown again. I will personally will never buy anything made of Indonesian rainforest wood. I hope that other people will follow my example.
Thank-You
Bryn and Ryan