07/04/2008 (PR-inside.com), Jakarta - Indonesia's peat land forests are still being cut down to make way for palm oil plantations despite government pledges to stop the destruction, the environmental group Greenpeace said Monday.
Indonesia is the biggest global emitter of greenhouse gases, blamed for global warming, through deforestation and third behind the United States
and China in terms of total man-made emissions.
Greenpeace said its investigators unearthed evidence of fresh logging in two palm oil concessions in Riau province in the north of Sumatra island. They made the trips in February and March.
«We are shocked by the continuing destruction of peat land forest in Indonesia,» said Greenpeace forest campaigner Hapsoro, who like many Indonesians goes by a single name.
The government said it would investigate the allegation.
«Our new laws clearly ban any plantation activities in peat land forest,» said Ahmad Manggabarani, director general of plantations at the Agriculture Ministry.
Indonesia has pledged to crack down on forest felling for plantations, which have expanded dramatically across the country since 2000. New plantations are only allowed on land that is already degraded.
Palm oil is an ingredient of food and cosmetics, and in recent years its derivatives have caught on as a source of renewable energy, spurred by subsidies in many European Union countries.
Deforestation in tropical countries accounts for roughly 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Bank.