One of the world’s most important and largest-remaining stretches of protected forests could be lost within the month to mining, logging and plantation companies that want to reclassify the land.
If a new spatial planning goes ahead, the governor and parliament of Aceh province in Indonesia would hand over forest vital to an estimated 4 million people as watershed protection and critical to food security and livelihoods.
The forest being proposed for re-zoning is part of the protected Leuser ecosystem, which is one of the richest expanses of tropical rain forest in Southeast Asia and a global repository of biodiversity.
Action NOW (sign the petition with link below) is urgent ahead of expected approval by the Aceh provincial parliament, where it significant support. Following that vote, the plan must then be approved by national government in Jakarta and a Forestry Ministry spokesman there has been quoted in press reports saying it could be approved within the month.
Approval of the plan would open up the forest for mining, paper and palm oil plantations the forest.The new spatial plan would grant currently protected land for mining, logging and palm oil. The plan would also approve an extensive new network of roads that would run through protected forests.
East Asia Minerals, the (TSX:EAS) Toronto-based mining company, with silver, gold and copper operations in Aceh and Sulawesi has said it is working closely with government officials in Aceh to obtain reclassification of 1.6 million hectares from “protected forest” to “production forest.”
In a statement, the company hailed the progress toward the rezoning as “positive news for mineral extraction in the area.”
The Aceh government banned the granting of new logging permits six years ago to protect the forest, but a new administration since last year is in favor of allowing logging again – hence the change in focus from protection of forests to allowing their commercial use.
Please click this link and sign the Change.org petition.
- With or without moratorium, Indonesian forests still under threat (eco-business.com)