News

A fifth of Indonesia’s palm oil sites lie in protected forests, says Greenpeace (21.10.2021)

Almost one-fifth of the land used for Indonesian oil palm plantations is located in the country’s forest estate, despite a law banning such activity, according to a study by Greenpeace.

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Hydroelectric project in Sumatra risks extinction of world’s rarest orangutan (06.09.2021)

As well as threatening the home of the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan, environmentalists say the Batang Toru hydropower plant in Indonesia jeopardises the livelihoods of 130,000 people and increases the risk of landslides.

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Highway cutting through Heart of Borneo poised to be ‘very, very bad’ (23.08.2021)

Every few years, stretches of Borneo’s towering dipterocarp trees fruit in a synchronized pulse. In those months, the air is rich with brown, winged fruit, which fall and spin to the forest floor. These are sites where life gathers to feast in momentary abundance: bearded pigs (Sus barbatus), sun bears (Helarctos malayanus), orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and more.

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The World’s Thirst for Palm Oil Is About To Destroy Asia’s Largest Remaining Rainforest (11.08.2021)

Around a decade ago, outsiders began to appear more and more regularly on Linus Batia Omba’s land. Sometimes these were shabby-clothed labourers, at other times they were bespectacled men wearing shirts. Often camouflaged soldiers wielding rifles would be in tow.

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Can a new way to measure tropical rainforest vulnerability help save them? (23.07.2021)

Rainforests across the tropics, from Indonesia to Central America and from Madagascar to the jungles around the Mekong River, are being cut or burned—to make way for ranches, farms, and palm oil plantations, to be logged for wood or cleared for roads and other human development. Across the globe, up to 20 percent of tropical rainforests has been cleared just since the 1990s, while another 10 percent has been damaged as climate change brings higher temperatures, longer dry seasons, and more frequent droughts.

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Deforestation of orangutan habitat feeds global palm oil demand, report shows (24.06.2021)

A major palm oil company supplying to global brands like Nestlé and PepsiCo continues to source the raw commodity from plantations responsible for deforesting prime orangutan habitat in Sumatra, according to a recent investigation.

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World will fail unless climate and nature crises are tackled together, says major report (11.06.2021)

The world’s climate and nature crises cannot be solved unless they are tackled together, scientists have warned in a major report.

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Lean times leave orangutans wasting away. Habitat loss makes things worse (31.05.2021)

Orangutans in Borneo have been found to physically waste away when fruit is scarce — a finding with dire implications as human-driven climate change and the destruction of their habitat put their food supply under even greater threat.

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Persons of the Forest: Sumatra’s Endangered and Trafficked Orangutans (14.04.2021)

Orangutans, “persons of the forest” in Bahasa, are the largest tree-dwelling mammals in the world and also among the most intelligent. Well-loved globally, they are a keystone species: the fates of many organisms in their forest ecosystem depend on them.
So why are they poached, trafficked, and treated so poorly?

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Can palm oil be grown sustainably? Agroforestry research suggests it can, and without chemicals (31.03.2021)

A recent investigation by Mongabay demonstrated that oil palm plantations in the Amazon do not appear to be ‘green’ as the Brazilian government terms them, but rather are associated with deforestation and rampant use of chemical herbicides and pesticides. Our reporter documented that in the municipality of Tomé-Açu in the northern Amazon state of Pará, an Indigenous community’s health has declined with the arrival of one such plantation, which began planting and spraying oil palms in direct proximity to their homes, with no buffer zone.

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Indonesia’s top palm oil deforesters are the usual shady suspects: Report (11.02.2021)

Palm oil-driven deforestation is slowing down in Southeast Asia in 2020 but a handful of low-profile companies continue to drive the majority of the destruction, according to a new analysis.

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Prosperity comes at 'devastating' cost to nature (02.02.2021)

A landmark review has called for transformational change in our economic approach to nature.

The long-awaited review by Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta, of the University of Cambridge, says prosperity has come at a "devastating" cost to the natural world.

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Deforestation spurred by road project creeps closer to Sumatra wildlife haven (14.01.2021)

An upgrade to a road that cuts through one of Southeast Asia’s last great swaths of intact rainforest is driving deeper encroachment by humans into blocks of forest that may spread into a national park.

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Historical data point to ‘imminent extinction’ of Tapanuli orangutan (07.01.2021)

Onrizal Onrizal remembers hearing stories of human-like creatures living in the forest when he was growing up in Sungai Dareh, a town in western Sumatra, Indonesia. Legend had it that the creatures, called orang pendek, or “short people,” by the locals, disappeared from the forest in the 1970s.

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Rape, abuses in palm oil fields linked to top beauty brands (18.11.2020)

With his hand clamped tightly over her mouth, she could not scream, the 16-year-old girl recalls – and no one was around to hear her anyway. She describes how her boss raped her amid the tall trees on an Indonesian palm oil plantation that feeds into some of the world’s best-known cosmetic brands. He then put an ax to her throat and warned her: Do not tell.

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Palm oil giant Korindo accused again of illegally burning Papuan rainforest (12.11.2020)

Palm oil giant Korindo Group is alleged to have set fires to clear rainforest in Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua, a practice that is banned by law.

The allegation was raised by Greenpeace International and Forensic Architecture, a research group based at the University of London, whose joint investigation found indications of deliberate burning by the Indonesian-South Korean joint venture.

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If Europe wants to halt climate collapse, why is it watering down rules on palm oil? (16.10.2020)

It’s 12 December 2019 – just one day after the European Commission (EC) presented its Green Deal to the world. A small delegation of high-level lobbyists of the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) reports to the offices of European Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels. The Green Deal is a brand new political masterplan that should transform Europe into the first climate neutral economic bloc by 2050. The lobby delegation has travelled to Brussels from its home base in Singapore to demand an explanation. During the meeting with Hogan, the lobbyists express concerns about how difficult it is getting European dairy exported to Thailand, about new Indonesian legislation banning alcohol, and about high import tariffs on cars in the ten member states of the ASEAN economic community.

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Less than half of world’s humid tropical forests have high ecological integrity: Study (22.09.2020)

Only a tiny fraction of the world’s most pristine tropical forests are protected from destruction, according to a recent study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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Global Biodiversity Is in Free Fall (15.09.2020)

Global efforts to address the steep, ongoing loss of biodiversity through a series of specified targets have failed, according to a dire assessment released by the United Nations today.

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80 per cent of Indonesian rainforest vulnerable to palm oil destruction is not protected, research shows (26.08.2020)

More than 80 per cent of the Indonesian rainforest, mangroves and peatlands most vulnerable to being cleared for palm oil production is completely unprotected by the country’s Forest Moratorium, according to new research.

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Indonesia dam builder refuses new study to assess impact on orangutans (19.08.2020)

Developers of a hydropower dam that threatens the only known habitat of a critically endangered orangutan say they will push on despite calls from the IUCN for an independent study into the impact of the project.

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‘Meaningless certification’: Study makes the case against ‘sustainable’ palm oil (05.08.2020)

A new study on certified oil palm plantations and their links to past deforestation has sparked a debate over whether they can be considered sustainable if they’re established on once-forested land.

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Certified 'sustainable' palm oil fields endanger mammal habitats and biodiverse tropical forests over 30 years (14.07.2020)

Global concern has risen around the "sustainability" of palm oil in terms of global exportation and the impact on the environment in recent years. Therefore, in 2004, stakeholders from palm oil industry sectors including oil palm producers, retailers, banks, investors, nature conservation and developmental NGOs, established the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) with "the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and engagement of stakeholders."

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Indonesia resumes release of captive wildlife amid COVID-19 (22.06.2020)

The Indonesian government has lifted a moratorium on the release of captive wild animals, imposed earlier this year as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus into wildlife populations.

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Palm oil from Indonesian grower that burned forest is still being sold (19.06.2020)

Palm oil from a company that burned a pristine orangutan habitat in Sumatra has entered the global market due to an oversight, possibly ending up in products made by multinationals such as Nestlé and Mars, according to a new report.

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How much rainforest is being destroyed? (10.06.2020)

Primary forests in the tropics are declining at an accelerating rate according to analysis of satellite data released last week by the University of Maryland (UMD) and World Resources Institute (WRI). Since 2002, the tropics lost more than 60 million hectares of primary forests, an area larger than the combined land mass of the states of California and Missouri or the island nation of Madagascar.

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Papuan farmer dies after alleged police assault at palm oil company (22.05.2020)

Activists in the Indonesian province of Papua are demanding an investigation into the death of an indigenous man who was reportedly assaulted by a police officer after complaining about his farm being cleared by a major palm oil company.

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If one ape in the forest is infected, a whole population could be wiped out, experts say. So orangutans in Indonesia’s rehabilitation centers are staying where they are.

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Why Is Palm Oil Such a Problem Now? (30.04.2020)

Palm oil has revolutionized the way we produce a variety of foods and cosmetics. But most people are unaware of how destructive this “magical ingredient” is to the natural environment.

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Palm Oil Deforestation: A Threat to Orangutan Populations, Indigenous People and Biodiversity (27.04.2020)

The California fires in November 2018 were more severe than ever and yet – the amount of forest that was lost in the combined fires makes up only a fraction of Indonesian forest that is burned every year in slash-and-burn practices to clear palm oil plantations.

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Palm oil giant Wilmar quits High Carbon Stock Approach citing governance issues (03.04.2020)

The world’s largest palm oil trader says a failure to fairly review an objection to its co-chairing the HCSA prompted its resignation. Greenpeace suspects that Wilmar is quitting to avoid close scrutiny of its no-deforestation commitments.

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Laser scans have revealed something strange at the edge of the rainforest (31.03.2020)

Trees at the edges of forests store 22 percent less carbon than trees inside forests, and the effect extends more than 100 meters into the forest, finds a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Orangutan Who Witnessed Mother’s Death Aged Three Has Baby Of Her Own (29.03.2020)

A young orangutan who witnessed her mother being tortured to death has now given birth to her own baby after a long and difficult journey back to the wild.

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New player starts clearing rainforest in world’s biggest oil palm project (24.03.2020)

A new company has begun clearing rainforest in an area of Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province earmarked to become the world’s largest oil palm plantation, in a vast project that has been mired in allegations of lawbreaking.

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Scientists call for independent review of dam project in orangutan habitat (24.03.2020)

Critics and supporters of a dam that threatens the only known population of Tapanuli orangutans are at loggerheads over whether to carry out an independent scientific study of the project’s impact.

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Palm oil firm has farmers jailed for harvesting from land it stole from them (17.03.2020)

Police in Indonesia have jailed three indigenous farmers for allegedly stealing oil palm fruit from a plantation company that is itself accused of stealing their land.

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Bill Gates just invested in this company that grows palm oil in a lab - not the rain forest (03.03.2020)

The destruction of rain forest to make room for more palm oil production is one of the leading causes of climate change. C16 Biosciences wants to offer companies another source.

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Call for prosecution of Indonesian politician who kept baby orangutan as pet (26.02.2020)

Conservation and wildlife activists have called on Indonesian authorities to press criminal charges against a local politician found to have kept a threatened baby orangutan as a pet.

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Indonesia shares blame for rising seas (22.02.2020)

It is customary to blame the developed world for creating climate change after centuries of putting profits before environmental concerns.

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Machine lubricants threaten sales of edible palm oil (19.02.2020)

European food makers are asking for less hydrocarbon contaminants in palm oil, raising costs for producers.

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Burning and bullets: Forest fires push Bornean orangutans into harm’s way (18.02.2020)

As the forests of Indonesian Borneo burned during fires last year, a female orangutan was forced to leave her burning home. When she was rescued from a small farm, experts found signs of recent pregnancy and wounds on her body.

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‘To curb deforestation in the long-term, break the link between politics and palm oil’ (03.02.2020)

Tom Johnson of The Gecko Project warns that truly sustainable palm oil in Indonesia may be out of reach without confronting corruption, undue influence and abuse of power.

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Dam that threatens orangutan habitat is ‘wholly unnecessary’: Report

Proponents of a hydropower plant to be built in the only known habitat of a critically endangered orangutan species say it’s important for meeting the future energy needs of northern Sumatra. But a new report says this region of Indonesia is already almost fully electrified, and that the new plant will do virtually nothing to improve that.

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Indonesia forest fires push orangutans into starvation mode, study finds (24.01.2020)

The fires that raze vast swaths of Indonesian Borneo every year are having a lasting health impact on the region’s critically endangered orangutans that threatens them with extinction, a preliminary study has found.

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Research shows potential for zero-deforestation pledges to protect wildlife in oil palm (21.01.2020)

New research has found that environmental efforts aimed at eliminating deforestation from oil palm production have the potential to benefit vulnerable tropical mammals.

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Mt. Leuser park rangers save two young orangutans from smuggler (10.01.2020)

Rangers from Mount Leuser National Park have rescued two juvenile Sumatran orangutans from a poacher who allegedly planned to sell the critically endangered apes on the black market.

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Dodgy science and corporate concessions in Indonesia’s bid for clean palm oil (17.12.2019)

Indonesia has launched a campaign that government officials say should boost the reputation of the country’s palm oil industry, even as activists and experts warn it could make the industry even less sustainable.

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Secrets of orangutan language revealed (09.12.2020)

In the first in-depth study of gestures amongwild orangutans, University of Exeter scientists identified 11 vocal signals and 21physical "gesture types".

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Indonesian court fines palm oil firm $18.5m over forest fires in 2015 (28.10.2019)

A court in Indonesia has ordered palm oil company PT Arjuna Utama Sawit to pay the equivalent of $18.6 million in fines and damages for fires on its land in Borneo in 2015, in the latest instance of a zero-tolerance enforcement approach against concession holders.

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Shocking: Rat-eating Monkeys Discovered in Malaysia (24.10.2019)

Monkeys that swarm on palm oil plantation in Malaysia were observed to be indulging in rats, according to the recent report published by Current Biology on October 21.

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Could This Tree Be An Eco-Friendly Way To Wean Indonesian Farmers Off Palm Oil? (20.10.2019)

A few times a month, Marhana leaves the village of Krui in southern Sumatra and journeys deep into the woods. Then she finds a tree, lined with triangular holes, each hole dripping with crystalized sap.

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Letter To the Consumer Goods Forum (23.09.2019)

As the world watches the Amazon and Indonesia burn in horror, hundreds of companies in the Consumer Goods Forum stand to miss the 2020 deadline to cut deforestation out of supply chains. In a broad coalition of international NGOs we demand real action amid the climate crisis: 

Read Letter

 

Indonesia rescues captive orangutans, but leaves their owners untouched (08.02.2019)

"Authorities in Indonesia have confiscated two juvenile Sumatran orangutans, a critically endangered species, being kept as pets."

Read full article here (PDF)

 

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