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Stop Korean firm burning rainforest for palm oil in Indonesia Papua

Papua New Guinea is the second largest island in the world. It is inhabited by diverse tribes that depend on nature to provide them with food, medicine and much more. The island has a rich array of botanical and animal species. Medicinal plants, which many natives use for traditional healing methods, are spread across the forest. Kangaroos, cassowaries, birds of paradise, cockatoos, crocodile, pygmy tree frogs, Papuan carnivorous plants (Nepenthes sp.) are among the amazing species.

Today, one of the world's last major untouched rainforests is being cut down, burned and erased forever by some of South Korea's biggest companies including Korindo. These firms are playing a leading role in destroying West Papua's unique ecosystem and indigenous livelihoods while polishing fraudulent and fake green credentials at home. Korindo is clearing primary rainforests for timber and then setting fires to plant oil palm in violation of Indonesian law. Korindo is involved in plywood, paper and pulp and palm oil. It has already destroyed more than 50,000 hectares (193 square miles) of tropical lowland forest for palm oil plantations in the remote provinces of Papua and Maluku in Indonesia.

A tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus pulcherrimus) from Indonesia Papua. Photograph: Tim Laman/NG/Getty Images.
A Papua leaf frog (Cornufer guentheri). Photogrph: Dr. Paddy Ryan.

The Korindo Group was a big contributor to the smoke and haze that occurred in 2015 and consequently had an impact on the economy, damaged the environment, and polluted the air for weeks over hundreds of kilometers including in Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

Extensive clearing of Indonesian Papua primary forest directly results in unevaluable habitats and associated plants and animal species. Indonesia is home to the world's third-largest area of tropical forests. It is also the world's fifth-largest emitter of the greenhouse gases widely blamed for global warming, largely due to deforestation. Korindo holds a total of 160,000 hectares (619 square miles) of oil palm concessions, and an estimated 900,000 hectares of logging areas that could also be destroyed. It is one of the largest plantation companies in eastern Indonesia.

Indonesia must do more to save pristine rainforests in Papua from destruction, particularly with illegal open up huge tracts of land to develop palm oil plantations. The government of Indonesia must stop and remove the Korindo Group from operating in Indonesia in clear violations of environmental laws. The group must be accountable for its tremendous destruction and impacts on biodiversity and endangered species. If clearing continues, it's going to be the largest and most horrifying deforestation project in Indonesia.

ESI will never stop fighting and implementing effective conservation projects for a greener, healthier world for wildlife, oceans, forest and climate. Conserving nature and its benefits is an imperative, not a luxury. Support from individuals like you is a crucial source of funding for our organization. You really will make a tremendous difference. Join us and make your support long-lasting.


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