Orangutans killed by palm oil corporations

This video is a short film on the threats faced by orang-utans in South East Asia – focussing on the palm oil industry.

From Tempo magazine in Indonesia:

Orangutan from Non-conserved Forests Can Only Survive Three Years

Monday, 08 September, 2008 | 16:08 WIB

Jakarta: During the next three years, more than 8,000 orangutans face the treat of extinction as palm oil industries are refusing moratorium or spaces when opening up land.

Environmental activist group Greenpeace considers this as one effective way to protect orangutans that live outside protected forests.

Novi Hardianto, manager of the habitat program at the Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) said on Thursday last week (4/9) that two big palm oil companies, IOI Group and Agro Group, have cut down forests that were known to be the habitat of orangutan.

This was despite the fact that these forests were included in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Novi said that this proves RSPO cannot protect the orangutan population.

“The population has been reduced by 3,000 per year. If we cannot improve this, we will not see orangutan anymore in the three years’ time,” she said.

Edi Suhardi, the public relations manager at Agro Group, denied this.

“It is not true that we have cut the forest there,” he said.

“We just started our preliminary study to identify areas with high conservation,” said Edi.

Meanwhile, RSPO spokesperson Desi Kusmadewi said that RSPO would check out the area mentioned by Greenpeace.

“If it is true, we will give chance for the company to repair what they have done first before being removed from RSPO,” said Desi.

Oil palm plantations are no substitute for tropical rainforests, a new study shows: here.

Palm oil industry relies on greenwashing to mislead consumers, alleges report: here.

Orangutan’s spontaneous whistling opens new chapter in study of evolution of speech: here.

Indonesia: terror and eviction for palm oil: here.

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23 thoughts on “Orangutans killed by palm oil corporations

  1. Palm oil firms’ moratorium rejection threatens orangutans: activists

    Thu Sep 4, 12:00 PM ET

    JAKARTA (AFP) – A decision by Indonesian palm oil companies to reject a moratorium on land clearing is threatening to wipe out more than 8,000 orangutans in the next three years, activists said Thursday.

    The decision last week to reject the moratorium call by Greenpeace means there is no effective mechanism for protecting thousands of orangutans living outside conservation areas, said Novi Hardianto from the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP).

    COP teams have observed land clearing by two major palm oil companies in orangutan habitats in Central Kalimantan province on Indonesia’s side of Borneo island, Hardianto said.

    Subsidiaries of companies IOI Group and Agro Group have been clearing orangutan habitats despite signing up to voluntary standards under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), he said.

    The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association, in rejecting the moratorium, argued RSPO standards were enough to protect species.

    However, Hardianto said land clearing by the companies showed the voluntary standards would do little to arrest the rapid decline in the number of orangutans living outside Central Kalimantan’s conservation areas.

    “If it keeps going at this rate, we’ll see orangutans in this environment wiped out within three years,” he said.

    An executive from Agro Group, Edi Suhardi, denied claims by the conservation group that it witnessed clearing of orangutan habitat forest at Agro’s Kuala Kuayan concession.

    “Definitely not, because we just obtained the license to establish palm oil in Kuala Kuayan early this year and we’ve just started our assessments… to identify high conservation value areas in Kuala Kuayan,” Suhardi said.

    “This accusation is garrulous and baseless.”

    A spokeswoman for the RSPO said the environment group was entitled to raise any accusations against the companies under its grievance procedures.

    “If it is true then (the companies) need to make a correction in the field,” Desi Kusmadewi said.

    “Before they are kicked out as RSPO members, usually the RSPO gives them a chance to correct themselves,” she said.

    COP estimates 20,032 orangutans live in the wild in Central Kalimantan province and that close to 3,000 of them die every year.

    High global demand for palm oil, which is used in a wide range of products from biscuits to soap and biodiesel, is driving massive deforestation in Indonesia’s equatorial forests.



    Chemical released by trees can help cool planet, scientists
    Scientists discover cloud-thickening chemicals in trees that
    could offer a new weapon in the fight against global warming
    Source: Copyright 2008, Guardian
    Date: October 31, 2008
    Byline: David Adam

    Trees could be more important to the Earth’s climate than
    previously thought, according to a new study that reveals
    forests help to block out the sun.

    Scientists in the UK and Germany have discovered that trees
    release a chemical that thickens clouds above them, which
    reflects more sunlight and so cools the Earth. The research
    suggests that chopping down forests could accelerate global
    warming more than was thought, and that protecting existing
    trees could be one of the best ways to tackle the problem.

    Dominick Spracklen, of the Institute for Climate and
    Atmospheric Science at Leeds University, said: “We think this
    could have quite a significant effect. You can think of
    forests as climate air conditioners.”

    The scientists looked at chemicals called terpenes that are
    released from boreal forests across northern regions such as
    Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. The chemicals give pine
    forests their distinctive smell, but their function has
    puzzled experts for years. Some believe the trees release them
    to communicate, while others say they could offer protection
    from air pollution.

    The team found the terpenes react in the air to form tiny
    particles called aerosols. The particles help turn water
    vapour in the atmosphere into clouds.

    Spracklen said the team’s computer models showed that the pine
    particles doubled the thickness of clouds some 1,000m above
    the forests, and would reflect an extra 5% sunlight back into

    He said: “It might not sound a lot, but that is quite a strong
    cooling effect. The climate is such a finely balanced system
    that we think this effect is large enough to reduce
    temperatures over quite large areas. It gives us another
    reason to preserve forests.”

    The research, which will be published in a special edition of
    the Royal Society journal Philosophical Transactions A, is the
    first to quantify the cooling effect of the released
    chemicals. The scientists say the findings “must be included
    in climate models in order to make realistic predictions”.

    Because trees release more terpenes in warmer weather, the
    discovery suggests that forests could act as a negative
    feedback on climate, to dampen future temperature rise. The
    team looked at forests of mainly pine and spruce trees, but
    Spracklen said other trees also produce terpenes so the
    cooling effect should be found in other regions, including
    tropical rainforests.



    Questioning World Bank Palm Oil Funding and Forest Carbon Finance in Indonesia

    By Rainforest Rescue, http://www.rainforest-rescue.org/ with
    Ecological Internet’s Rainforest Portal, http://www.rainforestportal.org/
    September 11, 2009


    Ombudsman report on 20 years of corrupt IFC, World Bank Group lending to the Indonesian oil palm industry casts doubt on Bank’s fitness to manage international forest carbon funds that may emerge at Copenhagen climate talks. It is time for the World Bank to end finance of oil palm, sustainable forest management, paper pulp and other industrial rainforest developments known to be the root causes of deforestation, degradation and climate change. The Bank must permanently end financial support for these industrial developments impacting primary rainforests, or it is the wrong entity to administer forest carbon monies.

    NOTE: This alert is part of EI’s campaign to protect and restore old forests globally. After sending this protest you are forwarded to several other related crucial and ongoing alerts, which we ask you to please send as well.




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