Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saving Indonesia's Endangered Orangutan

It should have been great news. The orangutan is an endangered species in Indonesian Borneo. The good news was the recent discovery of a colony of 500 of the primates. The bad news is that they were discovered in the course of preparations to clear their tropical forest refuge for a palm oil plantation.

Palm oil is one of the sweetheart crops for the production of biofuels. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Global warming might just save the [orangutans and their] ecosystem. Not only are environmentalists outraged by their possible destruction, but these trees spring from carbon-rich, metres-deep peat - potentially worth millions of dollars under a proposed post-Kyoto Protocol deal to fund the preservation of forests.

Clearing peat forests has made Indonesia the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter, sending more than 3000-million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere a year. It is driven by greed, with palm oil and timber barons lining the pockets of officials from Kalimantan to Jakarta - even the Forestry Minister has blocked prosecution of illegal loggers.

No comments: