The forests on the Tripa peatswamp in Aceh should be protected. They are part of the Leuser Ecosystem. They are covered by a logging moratorium in Aceh. At least part of the forest was covered by the Indonesia-Norway moratorium. And they are habitat to the extremely endangered Sumatran orangutan.
Yet the forests are on fire. The issue isn’t only the concession that Irwandi Yusuf, the governor of Aceh, awarded apparently in breach of the Indonesia-Norway moratorium. That only covers about 1,600 hectares. Unless the destruction is stopped, all of the remaining 12,000 hectares of forest on the Trip peatswamp will go up in smoke to be converted to a monoculture of oil palm plantations.
Ian Singleton is conservation director of the Swiss-based PanEco Foundation and head of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. He estimates that there are about 200 orangutans left in the peat swamps. Unless the fires are stopped, they “will simply die, either directly in the fires, killed by people, or of gradual starvation and malnutrition as their food resources disappear,” Singleton says. “We are currently watching a global tragedy.”
A petition has been launched to save the Tripa peatswamp. So far, nearly 700 people have signed the petition. REDD-Monitor encourages you to sign the petition and to circulate it to your contacts.
The momentum behind the campaign to save the Tripa peatswamp is building. Activists have also set up a website and a facebook page. Keep up to date with the latest news on twitter: #savetripa and #saveorangutan.
Here is some of the international media coverage of the destruction that is currently taking place in “Green Aceh”:
- Time Magazine: “Indonesian Fires Threaten Orangutans“, 29 March 2012.
“Hundreds of critically endangered orangutans in western Indonesia could be wiped out by the year’s end if palm oil companies keep setting land-clearing fires in their peat swamp forests, conservationists warned Thursday.”
- The Australian: “Orangutans may be wiped out – warning“, 29 March 2012.
“Critically-endangered orangutans in a protected area of Indonesia will be wiped out by the end of the year if land clearing is not stopped, a coalition of environmental groups warned today.
The government must immediately halt the clearance of forest in the 13,000-hectare peat swamps in Tripa, Aceh province, the groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth said.”
- AlJazeera:“Fires threaten Sumatran orangutans“, 29 March 2012.
“Hundreds of critically endangered orangutans in western Indonesia could be wiped out “within weeks” if palm oil companies continue to set land-clearing fires in their peat swamp forests, conservationists say.
Ian Singleton, a conservation director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, said on Thursday that the population of great apes was ‘just barely hanging on’.”
- Reuters: “Orangutans in Indonesia’s Aceh forest may die out in weeks“, 28 March 2012.
“Forest fires and land clearing by palm oil firms could kill off within weeks about 200 orangutans in a forest in western Indonesia, an environmental group said on Wednesday.”
- The Guardian: “Rare Sumatran orangutans dying as fires rage in Indonesian swamp forest“, 28 March 2012.
“Fires raging in an Indonesian swamp forest may have killed a third of the rare Sumatran orangutans living there and the rest could die this year, conservationists warned on Wednesday.
The Tripa forest in Aceh province is home to the world’s densest population of the critically endangered species. At last count, about 200 lived there, out of a world population of 6,600, the conservationists said.”
Here is a recent video by Carlos Quiles about the impacts of destroying the forests on the Tripa peatswamp:
PHOTO Credit: Carlos Quilles on flickr.