Woodlark Rainforests Spared for Now from Clearing for Oil Palm
Ecological Internet's international protest supporting local Papua New Guinea resistance blows the project out of the water
January 16, 2008
By Ecological Internet, Contact: Dr. Glen Barry , email@example.com
(Woodlark, Papua New Guinea) -- Ecological Internet welcomes reports that Vitroplant, shady developer of a proposed oil palm project on Woodlark Island in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea (PNG), has withdrawn. PNG's Minister for Agriculture and Livestock says no oil palm development will take place on Woodlark Island. Vitroplant's withdrawal was due to local and international pressure to conserve Woodlark Island's natural habitat.
The ill-conceived project was to have cleared 70% of the rainforests on biodiversity rich Woodlark Island, some 60,000 hectares, in order to establish a massive oil palm plantation. Following the direction of local peoples, Ecological Internet's Earth action network was able to generate nearly 50,000 protest emails from 3,000 people in 72 countries.
The protest embarrassed the PNG government and highlighted the hypocrisy of their support of carbon payments for avoided deforestation, even as Woodlark was approved for clearance, and a rogue rainforest timber export industry continues unhindered.
"We welcome reports that the Woodlark oil palm project is dead," states Ecological Internet's President Dr. Glen Barry. "Yet campaigning will continue until Woodlark is legally removed from consideration for agricultural deforestation, and the land is returned to its residents."
Ecological Internet's PNG rainforest campaign seeks legally binding assurances that palm oil and other biofuels will not be developed on currently forested lands, and the elimination of PNG's industrial log export industry. Only then will payments for rainforest protection be justified.
"The power of networks of informed Earth citizens to support local conservation action and an end to ancient rainforest logging has again been demonstrated. The forces of ecological destruction must be confronted and defeated," asserts Dr. Barry.