A matter of trade: Highway plan in Indonesia’s Papua threatens forests

June 26, 2008

Physical development versus ecological disaster is a matter of trade and it should be managed in a very-very careful way. Which one do we prefer? If we choose to develop a highway we must realise that a warning from Greenpeace and some Papuan NGOs about explosion in palm oil plantations, illegal loggers and biodiversity loss should be taken seriously. If we choose to let Papua as a jungle without any significant physical development, then we should also creatively think about any possible way to develop Papua without destroying its environment.

Precise calculation on what we will loss and what we will get is very important. By developing a highway from Papua Province to West Papua Province, economic development will increase sharply. But the question is who will get the largest part of economic pie? Are we Papuan ready for the economic booming of palm oil plantation, land transportation, housing, services, etc? I believe that most of the economic pie will be eaten by capitalist or investor from Jakarta, China or maybe Malaysia. While Papuan will become a low level labor in Palm oil plantation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Greenpeace says Indonesia mustn’t encroach on Papua forests in oil palm push

May 26, 2008

A very important warning from Arief Wicaksono of Greenpeace

Posted at 08:12 on 22 May, 2008 UTC in RNZI

Greenpeace says that without good governance, Indonesia’s plans to utilise millions more hectares in its Papua region are unlikely to be sustainably managed.

Indonesia’s agriculture ministry says that since Sumatra and Kalimantan have become too dense for new palm oil plantations, the only land available is in Papua.

Indonesia, which is the world’s largest palm oil producer, has three to four million hectares of land suitable for palm oil plantations in the Papua region.

However Indonesia’s already the third largest carbon emitter in the world and Greenpeace Southeast Asia Political Advisor, Arief Wicaksono, says oil palm plantation expansion will only increase the rate.

He says such plans usually mean more deforestation and ongoing hunger for land.

“The government should have stronger and stricter controls on how the plantations not encroaching the forests. If you look back to early 2007, the Agriculture Minister said that to become number one palm oil producer [in the world], we don’t have to encroach natural forests.”

Arief Wicaksono of Greenpeace