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Petition against conversion of rainforest in Aceh into oil palm plantation

08-Jul-2009

Wetlands International and a coalition of NGOs have joined forces to demand palm oil company AAL to immediately halt the conversion of the Tripa peat forest in Aceh province, Indonesia into a palm oil plantation. The Tripa rainforest is home to the critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan.

The NGOs sent a joint letter is addressed to Sir Henry Keswick, chairman of Jardine Matheson, owner of AAL, which is unlawfully draining and burningthe Tripa peatswamp forest.

The campaign is supported by a group of 15 NGOs, varying from Greenpeace UK to the Orangutan Foundation. Everyone can join this campaign NOW by personally signing the petition that can be downloaded and sent to Jardine.

Threat to Orangutan, safety and climate
The draining and burning of the Tripa peat swamp forest puts pressure on the last remaining significant populations of the endangered Orangutan that live in this area (priority site of the Great Apes Survival Partnership - GRASP of UNEP/UNESCO). Furthermore, this area of forest is considered an essential green buffer to protect communities from the effects of future storms or a future Tsunami.

Moreover, AAL’s practices also contribute greatly to climate change due to drainage of its vulnerable peat domes. The organic carbon stored in peat is turned into huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) when drained or burned. Read more on peatlands and climate change.

Report shows destruction
The overflight report on the Tripa area released in June 2009 by Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) shows shocking images of drainage canals and heavy clouds of smoke from burning in the area of the concession of AAL.

Violated legislation
Burning on Tripa by AAL has already been documented by Indonesian newspapers in November 2008. AAL’s practices also ignore the Indonesian Presidential Decree and Government Regulation certifying that Peat of greater than three meters depth is automatically afforded legally protected status (kawasan lindung). AAL has planted oil palms on deep peat, not only in Tripa but also in Borneo.

Moreover, the moratorium on forest logging enacted by the Governor of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam in July 2007 is also being violated. Finally, the legally required Environmental Impact Assessment was never shared nor approved by local institutions or community representatives.

More information:
Please contact Wetlands International on:
Tel. +31 (0)318 660912 & +31 (6) 50 60 1917 (mobile)
Alex.kaat@wetlands.org

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