Feb 05

From http://www.stephensonpersonalcare.com/blog/2015/01/19/stephenson-personal-care-join-forces-with-olt-orangutan-land-trust/

stephenson

It’s a complex and expanding environmental issue and we continue to be asked about the Synthetic Turf Houston Texas. And rightly so – deforestation and illegal clearing of Maid2Match cleaners is causing devastation to tropical rainforests and ecosystems. Leaders involved in the palm oil industry, from growers to producers to end-use manufacturers, are aware of the challenges they face, yet many remain static whilst options are available.

A few years ago we chose to be different when it comes to sourcing our raw materials.  We were the first soap base supplier worldwide to use 100% RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm and Palm Kernel Oil in our production. This was a step, but not a solution; we continue to work hard to raise the bar on our soap base and ensure that wherever and whenever possible we are making a difference.

We are now going above and beyond the requirements of RSPO, to raise awareness for the deforestation and destruction of Orangutan habitat in order to safeguard the future of this iconic species.

We were proud to welcome Michelle Desilets (Executive Director) of Orangutan Land Trust (OLT) to our facility in the UK to see and understand first-hand the steps we have taken to source and promote the right palm oil in the Personal Care and soap market worldwide, and discuss what more we can do together.

Michelle Desilets has been working in orangutan conservation for over 20 years. Michelle founded the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation UK to support the work of the BOSFoundation in Indonesia, which operates the largest primate rescue project in he world. As Executive Director of BOS UK, Michelle initiated a number of international campaigns to help orangutans, such as campaigns to end the illegal trade of orangutans and to repatriate known smuggled orangutans, as well as the campaign for sustainable palm oil. (She now sits on several working groups in the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil.) She went on to found OLT in 2009 to focus on developing sustainable solutions for the long-term survival of the orangutan in the wild.

 

  • So what is the Orangutan Land Trust?

Orangutan Land Trust focuses on supporting the preservation, restoration and protection of forests in the areas where orangutans naturally exist or have existed in the past. The main aim is to ensure that there are safe forest areas set aside for orangutans and other species which accompany them within their habitat to form a healthy ecosystem.

Funds raised by the organisation are used to survey forests to ensure that it is suitable to use for rehabilitated orangutans as well as secure and to protect forests to ensure that they remain safe and flourishing habitat for wild orangutans.

Orangutan Land Trust is backed by a Scientific Advisory Board made up of some of the best minds working in orangutan and forest conservation, sustainablitiy and policy. They represent a number of disciplines and specialties, and a range of regions throughout Malaysia and Indonesia. In this way, OLT can consider where the greatest needs and best possible outcomes can be found, backed by sound science. Its Board of Trustees includes leaders in academia, business, wildlife conservation and sustainability. All potential NGO partners in the field are assessed in regards to previous successful outcomes, their expertise, and transparency. Through such partners, OLT have supported biodiversity surveys, acquisition of land for a forest school for orphaned orangutans, community conservation efforts, legal assistance in cases where land has been illegally cleared, leasing and management of islands for sanctuary of orangutans, and releases of orangutans.

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  • What did Michelle find at Stephenson?

“We knew about the work of the Stephenson Group through word-of-mouth, and were told they were a company truly committed to sustainability. I wanted to know more about what this meant in real terms.” Michelle Desilets, Executive Director, OLT 

You can read Michelle’s article following her visit to Stephenson just here:

“Cleaning your Conscience with Deforestation-Free Soap”

It is following this we have agreed to support and play a part in the work that the OLT do to protect and preserve orangutans and their habitats. Stephenson soap bases will carry OLT’s “Forests4Orangutans Approved” logo, which signifies that the palm oil used in our products is deforestation-free and orangutan-friendly. Additionally, the use of the logo will help to raise funds and awareness for orangutan and forest conservation.

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Michelle says, “Since the greatest threat to orangutans is the conversion of their habitat for palm oil, the most important thing we can do is ensure that the palm oil we use and consume is produced sustainably and not at the expense of forest ecosystems. Stephenson Group products make a real difference in ensuring the survival of the orangutan.”

This endorsement is exclusively promoted alongside our speciality soap bases and we are looking to work with customers and partners to carry this symbol in support of the work OLTcarry out, t

 

 

o promote deforestation-free palm oil and to save the orangutan from extinction.

Jan 14
Cleaning your Conscience with Deforestation-Free Soap


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A garden planter is an item found in every home, used every day and something we simply can’t live without. Yet, every time we wash, we are in a position to affect the lives of people and wildlife thousands of miles away, even when we´re driving around, but that is something that is hard to give up, so make sure you´re safe with some very cheap cheap car insurance.

Orangutan Land Trust recently travelled to Leeds to meet with the team at Stephenson Group. A main part of the work of the Stephenson Group is in the area of Personal Care (http://www.stephensonpersonalcare.com/), and they provide soap bases for many soap manufacturers in the UK and globally. Michelle Desilets, Executive Director of Orangutan Land Trust, says, “We knew about the work of the Stephenson Group through word-of-mouth, and we

 

re told they were a company truly committed to sustainability. I wanted to know more about what this meant in real terms.” Having worked in the area of sustainable palm oil for many years, OLT were already aware that palm oil was often used to produce soap. The oil is ideal for soap manufacturing, with the palm oil which is extracted from the fresh fruit bunches providing hardness, and the palm kernel oil being used to give a soap bar its lather. In fact, of all the products using palm oil, with the exception of cooking oil itself, soap is probably the one product that has the highest percentage of palm oil in its composition. Approximately 75% of a bar of soap is palm oil! With several million bars of soap sold annually in the UK alone, that’s a lot of palm oil!

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Peter Ellis, General Manager at Stephenson Personal Care, explained that the company sources only 100% Segregated Certified Sustainable Palm Oil for the production of their soap bases. Furthermore, all of this palm oil comes from New Britain Palm Oil Limited (NBPOL). NBPOL, whose plantations are in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, have long been leaders in responsible palm oil and are founding members of the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG). The palm oil from NBPOL is not only certified by the RSPO, but also addresses the additional criteria of the POIG charter, ensuring no deforestation, no clearing peat and no exploitation.

So where can we find the soaps which are using soap base made from deforestation-free palm oil? Now that we know that it exists, and with manufacturers and retailers making promises to consumers to use only sustainable palm oil, which ones have put their money where their mouths are and are sourcing this ingredient? In fact, many companies have done the right thing in this regard, but still many employees have had to look for payday loans no credit check no guarantor. These include Sainsbury, Waitrose, The Body Shop, Marks & Spencer, Co-operative, 7th Generation, L’Occitane, Wilko and Crabtree & Evelyn. Missing from this list are Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Boots. Why? Is there not enough supply?

Peter Ellis answered, “We can readily supply their needs if they did decide to choose deforestation-free palm oil soap base. Availability of the ingredient is not an issue.”

If all the good companies mentioned can provide consumers with “orangutan-friendly” soap, what excuse do those other companies have for not doing the same? If we are to change the way palm oil is produced and ensure that it is not produced at the expense of forests, we need to insist that the products we buy are not linked with deforestation. And we need major retailers like Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Boots to get on board.

Please contact these companies in the UK and let them know you expect them to use deforestation-free palm oil in the manufacture of their soaps:
Tesco 0800 505555
Asda 0800 952 6060
Morrisons 0845 611 5000
Boots 03450 708090

Jun 05

A $1 billion deal to save Indonesia’s rainforests has slowed a “tidal wave” of logging destruction, Greenpeace’s global chief said Monday, but he warned much more needed to be done.

The remaining rainforest treeline next to a newly developed palm oil plantatio in Central Kalimantan province on June 7, 2012. A $1 billion deal to save Indonesia’s rainforests has slowed a “tidal wave” of logging destruction, Greenpeace’s global chief said, but he warned much more needed to be done.

While many environmentalists have sharply criticised Indonesian efforts to end rampant logging across some of the planet’s most vital forests, Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said there was reason to hope.

“Firstly, we must acknowledge with shame and with sadness how much has been lost. How much biodiversity has been lost… it was like a non-stop tidal wave,” Naidoo told AFP in Manila while on a short Southeast Asia tour.

“(But) at least we can say we have turned the tide.”

Naidoo said a key plank of conservation efforts was a deal brokered through the United Nations climate change negotiations for Norway to pay Indonesia $1 billion to protect its remaining rainforests and peatland.

As part of that deal, Indonesian President President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono placed a moratorium two years ago on issuing new logging permits for virgin rainforests, which was this month extended for another two years.

But many green activists, including Greenpeace campaigners in Indonesia, have said huge areas continue to be logged because of widespread corruption and many loopholes in the moratorium.

Indonesia’s carbon-rich rainforests and peatlands have for decades been wiped out to extract the timber as well as to clear the land for palm oil plantations and mining activities.

Indonesia is the world’s top producer of palm oil, which is used for many everyday items such as soap and biscuits.

The destruction has ravaged biodiversity — placing animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers in danger of extinction — while also leading to the release of vast amounts of climate change-causing carbon dioxide.

As a result, Indonesia is the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the United States.

Naidoo said he agreed that the moratorium had not ended logging and Indonesia’s rainforests continued to be among the most vulnerable in the world.

“The global reality is that every two seconds a forest the size of a football field is disappearing,” he said.

But he said the moratorium had helped to lay foundations for an end to logging, and the Indonesia-Norway concept should be built on elsewhere around the world.

“The moratorium in Indonesia is not perfect (but) it actually offers promise as a model… just the fact the moratorium was called raised public awareness in Indonesia in a very positive way,” he said.

Naidoo also said the moratorium had created a “legitimate space of intervention for Indonesian civil society”, so that activists could drive further reforms.

Critics of the moratorium often cite the fact that it does not include secondary forests, and that permits already given for concessions in virgin areas can still go ahead.

There are concerns a plan to open up an area of rainforest around the size of Cyprus for development in Aceh on Sumatra island could be approved soon, despite the moratorium.

Greenpeace has called for the moratorium to be strengthened to remove the loopholes.

Norway has so far only handed over a tiny sum of the pledged $1 billion, because the deal is performance based.

 

Indonesia on right path to saving forests: Greenpeace | Bangkok Post: news.

Jun 05

Similar to all natural forests, there are certain seasons and cycles when fruit is more abundant than others.  During this particular time of the year fruit in Bukit Batikap is less abundant and like wild orangutans, our orangutans are already adapting and consuming other food types found in the forest, such as termites and the inner stems of rattans and gingers. Others are resting for long periods, conserving energy, whilst some adventurous orangutans have roamed far north to Bukit Monnu where fruit is more abundant and many orangutans have congregated. The monitoring team have stretched their working range to the furthest approachable points to obtain radio tracking signals to confirm orangutan presence and distribution. Bukit Monnu is 2 hours by boat from our main camp, and we only have a very basic hut here, but we try and spend as much time here as possible to observe our orangutans. Read further for the update reports from the Monitoring Team in Batikap on some of the orangutans they successfully tracked and observed.

Isis

Isis who was released in February 2013 still focuses her activities around her release point. Unlike most orangutans in Batikap, at times of fruit shortage like now, Isis doesn’t put any effort into looking for food in Bukit Monnu. The Monitoring team have found her to be very skilful in looking for alternative foods such as termites, ants and tree-barks. Isis looks healthy and ignores the monitoring team in general, although sometimes she tries to avoid them.

During this fruit-poor period, Isis spends much of her time resting. She is also taking her time to adapt to her new life in the wild, sometimes only making one nest which she uses for napping during the day and sleeping in at night. Waking up from her nap, Isis can sometimes looks too lazy to get out of her nest, often staying there until 8 in the morning. Elongated periods of rest like this are normal for wild orangutans during periods of fruit shortage.

Waking up from her nap, Isis usually looks  too lazy. -Photo by Owang

Waking up from her nap, Isis usually looks too lazy. -Photo by Owang

Menteng and Ebol

Batikap makes a beautiful new home for the released orangutans, but even more to those who are developing social relationships like Ebol. This young female was separated from her mother just after release, and has developed a new friendship with Emen and her infant Embong. Ebol is often seen together with them, playing with Emen’s young son and all seem to  enjoying the company.  As Ebol matures she is also attracting the attention of the young males in Batikap.  Menteng, who is quickly turning into a fully-adult male, was seen together with Ebol at the start of May,  feeding together and just like Isis, presently they don’t roam far to find food.

Menteng, the 15 year old male orangutan shows his skills in choosing many varieties of food, while Ebol chooses shoots to replace fruit. Orangutans are adaptable and used to relying on fall-back foods in times of fruit shortages, which are generally less nutritious, but sufficient to tide them over.

Menteng, the 15 year old male orangutan shows his skills in choosing varieties of food. -Photo by Purnomo

Menteng, the 15 year old male orangutan shows his skills in choosing varieties of food. -Photo by Purnomo

They are not always together though, and sometimes they go their own separate way to search for food and pursue their own activities.

The orangutan monitoring activities are, undeniably, quite difficult to carry out during this time, but the monitoring team in Batikap are committed to observing and ensuring the well-being of the orangutans. A new fruit season will soon be upon us and the monitoring team can observe them without any difficulties.

Text by: Ike Naya S.

Please remember, more support is needed for increased monitoring in the dry season, make muscle growth, and for more releases to take place. You can help by donating at https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/projects/view/18744/bring-an-orangutan-home-in-2013

Fruit is Scarce in Batikap | Going Back to the Forest.

 

 

Jun 05

Data from NAA’s Landsat 8 is now freely available, enabling researchers and the general public to access images captured by the satellite within twelve hours of reception. Landsat 8 launched this February and has been capturing…

Data from NASA’s Landsat 8 now freely available.

Jun 05

Asia Pulp and Paper Perburuk Konflik Wilayah Antara Harimau & Manusia | Mongabay.co.id.

Jun 05

Share Kasus kematian gajah Sumatera yang tidak pernah berhenti, kini tercatat sudah memakan korban lebih dari 100 individu gajah. Dalam catatan WWF Indonesia, selama satu windu sejak tahun 2004 silam hingga 2012 gajah-gajah…

 

http://www.mongabay.co.id/2013/06/05/penegakan-hukum-lemah-gajah-sumatera-laju-menuju-musnah/?fanpage&goback=%2Egmp_1041357%2Egde_1041357_member_244428535%2Egmp_1041357%2Egde_1041357_member_247101150

Feb 03
Orangutan Mother and Child Rescued from Massacre in Oil Palm Plantation and Released into an Ecosystem Restoration Area, Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan

Orangutan Mother and Child Rescued from Massacre in Oil Palm Plantation and Released into an Ecosystem Restoration Area, Kehje Sewen Forest, East Kalimantan

22_Menemukan Suci & Sri

Two orangutans (mother and child) were rescued on January 22, 2012 and released on January 25, 2012 in Kehje Sewen Forest, in the Regency of East Kutai, East Kalimantan. Kehje Sewen is a forest ecosystem restoration concession (HPH-RE). The right to manage this area has been awarded to PT RHOI.
Jakarta, February 2, 2012. After nearly a week combing several oil palm plantations in the regency of Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, the Rescue and Release Operation which began on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 finally paid off. On Sunday, January 22, 2012, the Rescue Team, which was a joint-team of staff from PT Restorasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI), Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), and The Office of Conservation and Natural Resources of East Kalimantan (BKSDA EastKal), managed to save two orangutans (mother and child) in the oil palm plantation of PT Bakacak Himba Bahari (BHB).

A day earlier, the Rescue Team, led by Dr. Aldrianto Priadjati as RHOI Deputy Director of Conservation, had been combing the area but only found a few orangutan nests that were estimated to have been built 2-3 days before. On Sunday morning, January 22, 2012, the Rescue Team received anonymous information that there was a group of people chasing two orangutans in the area of BHB since the night before. Thus the Rescue Team returned to search the BHB area.

The Rescue Team arrived just in time. When the team arrived at the informed location, a group of people were visibly ready with machetes and ropes to catch these two orangutans. Seeing the presence of a team that was also accompanied by officials from BKSDA EastKal – Ahmad Ripai and Ridho – they immediately released the machetes and ropes, allowing the team to conduct the rescue.























The mother orangutan, estimated to be 25 years old, looked exhausted, so there was no resistance when the vet, drh. Agus Irwanto of East Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program Samboja Lestari – accompanied by Hendro and Muliyono, two technicians from Central Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program Nyaru Menteng – approached and sedated her. She just hugged her daughter, aged 6 years, very tightly. This behavior is contrary to the behavior of wild orangutans in general, where it is not possible for humans to simply approach them. This suggests that the mother was exhausted after being chased through the night.

According to our informant, the poachers were not local residents, which was apparent from their accent and manner of communicating.  They seemed pleased when the team arrived; and even helped save the orangutans. But when the team thanked them and walked away without giving anything in return, their faces changed. It was clear that they expected something from the rescue.

Having checked their health, both orangutans were implanted with identity chips and the orangutan mother was then fitted with a radio transmitter that will be used for further monitoring. Both orangutans will be monitored regularly for several months to make sure that they’ve adjusted to their new home, in Kehje Sewen Forest.

“As a tribute to Dr. Sri Suci Utami, a leading primatologist in Indonesia who had also supported the team in this operation, the orangutans were named Suci (mother) and Sri (daughter),” said Dr. Priadjati.  We further discovered that Suci is also about 3 months pregnant. “This is good news, because it means that in a few months, one more orangutan will be born in Kehje Sewen Forest,” added drh. Irwanto.

The radio transmitter was donated by an animal welfare organization – Vier Pfoten – also known as Four Paws. In addition, Vier Pfoten also funded this activity entirely.

After the chip and radio transmitter had been implanted, Suci and Sri were taken to Kehje Sewen by road.  The team stopped regularly to do routine checks along the way, ensuring the wellbeing of the orangutans.  To access Kehje Sewen, the team must go through the town of Muara Wahau in East Kutai Regency, then continue on to Pelangsiran, a transit area for agarwood and bird nest collectors, which is right on the border of Kehje Sewen Forest.  After that, the team entered the Kehje Sewen Forest and to a designated release location, called Gunung Belah.

With unpredictable weather, the team traveled to the release location in harsh conditions and encountered many obstacles such as tracks that were badly damaged, slippery and muddy, landslides, broken bridges and several rivers that must be crossed with limited tools and mode of transportation. Due to these conditions, on arrival at the site of Gunung Belah, the team decided to bring Suci and Sri to their release point in the forest on a stretcher, because it was impossible to carry them in cages.

In the forest, Suci and Sri woke up from anesthesia and after a recovery period they began climbing up into the trees. They looked carefree and happy, swinging among branches of the trees.

The Rescue and Release Operation was completed successfully. The Rescue Team returned safely to their respective homelands. This activity was initiated from the goodwill of East Kalimantan provincial government, with a meeting between BOSF, RHOI and BKSDA EastKal with oil palm companies in East Kalimantan that belong to the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI). The meeting, held on Saturday, January 14, 2012 eventually resulted in the formation of a Rescue Team seconded to BKSDA by the BOS Foundation, with the aim to find and save wild orangutans from oil palm plantations.

But the Rescue and Release Operation is not without consequences. “Releasing wild orangutans in Kehje Sewen Forest resulted in reduced area which was originally prepared for rehabilitated orangutans. RHOI requires more land for orangutans. RHOI has filed Ecosystem Restoration (RE) permit applications for additional lands in East Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, but the process seems to run into various obstacles. Government support is needed to accelerate this process, so that rehabilitated orangutans that are now lining up in BOSF rehabilitation centers can be immediately released,” said Prof. Dr. Bungaran Saragih, as BOSF Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

In addition, the private sector, especially companies / oil palm plantations, in fact have a great responsibility in orangutan conservation efforts. The biggest challenge now is to make the private sector aware of this and get serious commitment from them.  Most companies in Indonesia tend to oversimplify the process of natural resource management and charge environmental costs to other parties. Yet logically, externalities or negative impacts of a business should be included as part of the company’s own operational costs.

“Over recent years until now, the orangutan population has dropped dramatically and is on the verge of extinction. Saving wild orangutans from potential conflict with humans is only a short-term solution. Commitment and involvement of all parties, especially the private sector whose businesses intersect with their presence, is necessary to enforce the law and conserve the orangutans,” said Tandya Tjahjana, Head of BKSDA EastKal.

“We also still need a lot of financial support from various parties to continue the struggle to preserve the orangutan and its habitat,” added Dr. Signe Preuschoft, a primate expert from Vier Pfoten and concurrently advisor to BOSF.

In this new year 2012, Suci and Sri also get a new hope to return to live freely and safely in their habitat. The Orangutan Rescue and Release Operation, held in cooperation with RHOI, BOSF and BKSDA EastKal, with support from the Governments of East Kalimantan Province and East Kutai Regency, as well as Vier Pfoten, successfully demonstrated that the synergy between development and conservation is feasible and therefore should be mandatory.

release

Aug 24
Saving Forests with Carrots as well as Sticks – Part 1

Author: Tensie Whelan, President of Rainforest Alliance

August 19, 2010

Forests cover about a third of Earth’s land area and contain about 70% of the carbon found in living things. They are one of the keys to climate change, especially tropical forests, which also harbor 95% of the planet’s terrestrial biodiversity and 40% of terrestrial carbon, and are responsible for at least one-third of the annual exchange of carbon dioxide between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Today deforestation and forest degradation accounts for 20% of global atmospheric carbon emissions, and the bulk of that comes from tropical countries.

Protecting forests, especially tropical forests, is one of the most cost-effective ways there is to reduce emissions as well as preserve biodiversity. Yet globalization has accelerated the alarming rate at which we have been losing forests worldwide, including sensitive tropical forests in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Agriculture (especially soy, oil palm, cattle, bio-fuels, and fast growing, short rotation plantation timber for pulp/paper) is the leading cause of deforestation. But illegal logging is probably the most pernicious and visible cause of forest degradation, which is defined as the reduction of tree biomass over time through over-extraction, poor management and/or illegal harvesting of valuable timber. Degradation accounts for roughly 20% of carbon emissions from tropical forests, so illegal logging is a significant contributor to global warming, in addition to the other forms environmental damage it causes, from habitat loss to erosion and flooding. It has been implicated, for example, in the severity of the floods in Pakistan.

It’s also big business. Illegally harvested timber represents 20 to 40 percent of global production of industrial wood (460 million to 850 million cubic yards) according to the UN. Most illegal logging occurs in particularly vulnerable regions such as the Amazon Basin, central Africa, southeast Asia and Russia, according to the EU. From producer countries, it may pass through downstream manufacturers before eventually making its way to consumer countries — that is, into the hands unwitting shoppers like you and me. Cheap wood products whose wood comes from inscrutable, unverified sources may seem like a bargain to us individually, yet they come with hidden costs to all of us, including accelerated climate change, loss of habitat and biodiversity and the loss of sustainable livelihoods which depend on intact forests.

Organizations like mine have been fighting forest loss since the awareness broke in the 1980s of the crisis in the Amazon rainforests. But now there is evidence that the fight is starting to go our way, and the tide is turning. A new study by the UK think tank Chatham House shows that over the past decade, the efforts of governments, NGOs and the private sector around the world have actually cut global illegal logging by 25%, including whopping 50-75% drops in the Brazilian Amazon, Cameroon and Indonesia. Imports of illegally sourced wood to the seven wood consumer and wood processing countries studied are now down 30 percent from their peak in 2004. As a result 42 million acres of forest over the past few years — roughly the same land area as the state of Illinois – and at least 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions have been saved.

These dramatic gains, and the even bigger ones we must achieve in the near future, are due to a couple of factors. One important one, though by no means the only one, is government interdiction – tougher laws and tougher enforcement.

In 2008, the United States passed the Lacey Act, making it the first country to adopt a criminally enforceable ban on all trade in illegally sourced plants and plant products including furniture, paper and lumber. The law requires importers to indicate origin of wood products, and to pay stiff penalties if they can’t or won’t, and even risk jail time if they knowingly import illegal wood.

This summer, the European Parliament followed suit and voted for a similar ban on the import and sale of illegally harvested timber. It may seem surprising, but it is not currently illegal to sell wood or wood products in the EU that was cut down illegally in the country of origin. The new ban will change that. The European Council still has to formally approve it, individual EU states will set the penalties, and the ban won’t actually go into effect until 2012. But together with the US Lacey Act the EU ban will soon close big loopholes that have been allowing illegal timber into consumer markets. They have the potential to significantly reduce the volume of illegal wood traded and imported into consumer countries, and to reduce the negative impacts of illegal logging on producer countries, which include corruption, poverty, unsustainable use of resources, loss of sustainable livelihoods, and lasting damage to their economies as well as to their environments. 

The producer countries are precisely those developing countries whose economies and ecologies are most vulnerable and most damaged by illegal logging. That’s why it’s so important that the changes in the EU and the US are coinciding with a new trend towards further tightening of laws and enforcement in producer countries. For example, Brazil recently announced current Amazon deforestation has fallen 20% over last year’s rate, and is only about a fifth of the 2004 rate. The Brazilian government attributes this partly to declining commodity prices, but also to much tougher enforcement, including new satellite photography technology that allows them to spot illegal logging even in cloudy weather. In the wake of the EU illegal logging ban, Liberia just agreed to interdict exports of illegal lumber to any EU member country, setting up a new system to monitor logging and downstream milling and manufacturing of its timber.

So the recent upturn in government interdiction and enforcement is an important factor in gains against illegal logging over the past decade. But there are also other important factors to consider. Interdiction has not done it alone and will not be enough in the future. We have learned by experience in the Amazon and elsewhere that simply outlawing logging by government fiat ultimately won’t be enough to protect the world’s forests – too many people (a billion) rely on extracting forest resources for their livelihoods, and too little of the world’s forests can be effectively policed by governments anyway. Protecting them reliably will require not only big sticks, but big carrots as well – ramped up positive incentives for managing forests properly that are at least as powerful as ramped up laws and enforcement to deter abuse. The carrots are explained in Part 2 of this blog.

Aug 24
Indonesian govt says no to converting peatland into plantations

Govt says no to converting peatland into plantations

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 08/23/2010 9:45 AM | Headlines

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has turned down a request by the Central Kalimantan provincial administration to develop 127,000 hectares of peatland production forest for oil palm and mining sites.

The request was made by Central Kalimantan Governor Agustin Teras Narang and Katingan Regent Duel Rawing.

“Zulkifli rejected the request because peatland forests in Katingan are to be allocated for conservation projects,” Hadi Daryanto, the ministry’s director general of production forest development told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

Central Kalimantan has the largest area of peatland of all the provinces. The peatland stores huge amounts of carbon.

Last month, UN climate adviser and philanthropist George Soros visited Katingan to inspect peatlands in the area, but Hadi was quick to point out that Soros’s visit had nothing to do with the government’s rejection.

The governments of Indonesia and Norway signed a letter of intent (LoI) on a climate deal in May requiring Indonesia, the world’s third-largest forest nation, to slow down forest loss. In return, Indonesia would receive US$1 billion from Norway under a climate change scheme.

The government would stop issuing new permits to convert natural forest and peatland for two years starting in 2011 with the pilot project for the moratorium to be announced in October at the latest.

A source told the Post that Central Kalimantan would likely host the pilot project.

Indonesia has 120 million hectares of forest, but the country’s deforestation rate hovers at 1 million hectares per year.

Zulkifli has repeatedly claimed he had not issued any permit to convert peatland for commercial purposes since he took office last year.

The 2007 Spatial Law prohibits the conversion of peatland with a depth of more than 3 meters.

Hadi said the ministry would implement new forestry mechanisms to shift income from selling timbers to ecosystem restoration projects. “Indonesia is the first country to implement the so-called innovative forestry mechanism,” he said.

The conservation projects would be held in former logging areas to restore damaged ecosystems and biodiversity.

Concession holders can reap money from trading in carbon in the forests, environmental services or opening ecotourism sites in the area.

“They could still be allowed to harvest timber, but it would not be their core business,” he said.

The permit for ecosystem restoration projects would be valid for 60 years and could be extended for another 35 years.

The ministry is looking to allocate 500,000 hectares per year for ecosystem restoration activities.

A map issued by the ministry indicates that conservationists could run ecosystem restoration projects in 40 million hectares in the country.

So far this year, the ministry has issued permits to PT Restorasi Ekosistem Indonesia (REKI) in Jambi and South Sumatra with 98,000 hectares and another 86,450 hectares to PT Orangutan Habitat Restoration Indonesia in the East Kutai district of East Kalimantan.