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SHOTLIST : BORNEO, INDONESIA, MAY 2012, SOURCE: AFPTV - VAR aerials of Borneo with forests that have been destroyed and palm tree plantations - Closeup of a palm tree - Workers on a plantation - Palm trees - Wide of palm oil plantation - Wide of palm tree bearing fruit - Closeup of fruit on the ground SOUNDBITE 1 Yuyun Indradi (man), forest campaigner at Greenpeace (English, 16 sec): "It means there will be a catastrophy for our environment, not just carbon emissions that comes from land use changes and deforestation but also the loss of biodiversity and in this case including the endangered species like Sumatran Tigers." SOUNDBITE 2 Fadhil Hasan (man), Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) director (English, 6 sec): "Oil palm plantations have increased the welfare of the people." SOUNDBITE 3 Fadhil Hasan (man), Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) director (English, 24 sec): "This industry commits itself to sustainability. The sustainability not only focuses on one area which is the environment, but also social and also economic." /// ---------------------------------------------------------- AFP TEXT STORY: Indonesia-France-environment-animals-forests Environmental hangover from Indonesia's palm oil thirst by Loïc VENNIN and Olivia RONDONUWU PARARAWEN, Indonesia, Dec 6, 2012 (AFP) - The roar of chainsaws has replaced birdsong, the lush green jungle scorched into a grey moonscape. The equivalent of six football pitches of forest is lost every minute in Indonesia. The disappearance of the trees has pushed thousands of animals -- from birds to orangutans, gibbons and black panthers -- out of their natural homes and habitats. The palm forests that have risen in their place are too nutrient-poor to support them, dedicated solely to producing the red palm seeds used around the world in everything from cooking oil to fuel. A palm oil tree can yield useable seeds in three years and continue doing so for the next 20. But such wealth creation has meant environmental destruction. "We don't see too many orangutans any more", said a worker with a sun-beaten face, taking a break in the shade of a hut built on a path gouged out of the forest floor. Experts believe there are about 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 80 percent of them in Indonesia's Borneo and the rest in Malaysia (RATE OF DECLINE?). "What we see now is a contest between orangutans and palm oil for a home," said Sri Suci Utami Atmoko, a primatologist from National University in Jakarta. Gibbons, often recognizable by the rings of white fur that frame their faces, are among the hardest-hit species. "There are 100,000 gibbons in Borneo. But in 15-20 years, there will be more viable populations," said Aurelien Brule, a French national who has been based in Borneo for 15 years and runs an animal sanctuary. Gibbons that are rescued from the destruction of their forest homes cannot be returned alone into new wild habitats. "Other pairs protecting their own territory would kill them," said Brule, adding that rampant deforestation has wiped out "empty" sites suitable for single animals. There is also a human cost, with the permits for plantations resulting in the eviction of indigenous people (DATA?) "Palm oil has brought fortune to Indonesia, but it has been gained with blood," said Jakarta based forest campaigner for Greenpeace, Wirendro Sumargo. Indonesia, the world's biggest palm oil producer, has exponentially increased the land dedicated to the commodity from 274,000 hectares in the 1980s to 7.32 million hectares in 2009, government documents show. The industry has helped contribute to a national annual growth rate that is currently above 6 percent, but at the cost of huge amounts of rainforest. Indonesia and its neighbour Malaysia, which account for more than 85 percent of the global palm oil trade, lost an area of forest roughly the size of Denmark between 2000 and 2010, according to a study published last year in the Global Change Biology journal. Despite some backlash - France in November approved the so-called Nutella amendment that would quadruple the tax on palm oil in an effort to discourage consumption of the oil rich in saturated fat -- there is no sign of the forest destruction stopping any time soon. Indonesia is aiming to increase palm oil production more than 60 percent by 2020. Last year it imposed a moratorium on new permits in primary forests and peatlands, which critics say is not being enforced strongly enough with palm oil plantation allocations overlapping sensitive environments. "The government's policy has so far been cosmetic, it's always too late," said Tarigan. One example can be found in the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, in the northwest of Aceh Province, home to endangered species such as Sumatran rhinos and tigers. In this area, "we have evidence that five palm oil firms are doing illegal practices," said Deddy Ratih, Forest Campaigner for WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia. Derom Bangun, the chairman of umbrella organization the Indonesian Palm Oil Board, doesn't deny the issue but says improvements are being made. "The government has seen (the violations) and has taken steps to fix it. Ultimately we want the palm oil industry to work according to the rules," he added. In an effort to improve their image, some palm oil firms have joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a forum consisted namely of green groups and growers. The World Wildlife Fund, one of the founders of RSPO, admitted that there is still a conservation shortfall. "Generally land allocation for plantations still overlaps with primary forests and peatlands, including in areas that are the habitat of key species," said Irwan Gunawan, World Wildlife Fund Deputy Director Market Transformation in Indonesia. "We are encouraging the government to pay attention to this," he added. END
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