Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - A Greenpeace campaigner for Papua, Ricarth Tawaru, said with forests in Sumatra and Kalimantan having almost disappeared, Papua`s forests were now facing a great threat.

"Almost nine million hectares of forests in Papua have been identified by the government as expendable in the interest of development of large scale industries," Ricarth said here on Monday.

He said that in Papua land takeovers and forest clearing continued to take place for the development of oil palm plantations, timber estates and mining.

"These activities pose a serious threat to Papua`s forests," he said.

He said the average acreage of forest lost every year in Papua reached 300 thousand hectares. Almost two million hectares of forests had been allocated for the development of food industries and estates.

"Experience in various other regions show that the changing bf forest areas into palm oil plantations and timber estates have created serious social problems, including environmental problems," Ricarth said.

He said that Papua`s forests were not only important for the ecosystem but also important as a source of inspiration. Gradually destroying Papua forests is equal to destroying the sources of the Papuan people`s cultural inspirations.

"We are concerned about the government`s plan to clear Papuan forests as it could separate the local people from their natural resources. We believe that the Papuan people have noble values to protect their forests and are able to cultivate them for their own future," he said.

To prevent damage being done to Papua`s forests, Ricarth reminded all parties, including the government, businesses and the people that Papua`s forest were the only forests in Indonesia that still remained to help reduce global warming.

He said Greenpeace was also continuing to organize campaigns to preserve forests and on how to carry out community-based forest management.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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