From: Associated Press
Published October 7, 2004 12:00 AM

"End Game" Near for Indonesia's Rain Forests, Says Greenpeace

SINGAPORE — Time is running out for Indonesia's dwindling rain forests, as illegal logging is destroying them 10 times faster than the Amazon's, environmental group Greenpeace said Wednesday.


Logging could wipe out ancient forests in lowland areas on the Indonesian island of Sumatra by the end of next year, Greenpeace and other environmental activists said.


"The end game is near for Indonesian rain forests," said spokesman Tim Birch. "In five years, this will no longer be an issue, because it will be the end of the ecosystem in Indonesia."


Greenpeace is especially concerned about the logging of ramin, a hardwood tree found in the lowland tropical rain forests of Indonesia and Malaysia.


Birch said illegal harvesting of the tree, banned for export by Indonesia in 2001, is killing off the habitat of the orangutan and Sumatran tiger.


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"The Amazon has been the poster boy for destruction, but in Indonesia, rain forests here are being destroyed 10 times faster than the Amazon," said Peter Sanderson, a crew member of the group's flagship, the Rainbow Warrior.


The Greenpeace ship leaves Singapore for Bangkok on Thursday for the ongoing U.N. Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).


Source: Associated Press


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