Sunday, 9 December 2007

Fancy Furniture Threatens the Sumatra?


An attempt is being made on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, to reverse the loss of the indigenous rain forest that once covered an area (20 m hectares) the size of Greater London (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/dec/08/forests.conservation). Only around 600,000 hectares are left and the numbers of trees removed legally and illegally increases every year (it has been estimated that, in Indonesia as a whole, an area of jungle "the size of 300 football pitches is cleared per hour"). This is devastating for the island and its wildlife including the Orang-utan but may also have world-wide repercussions. It has been estimated that the amount of greenhouse gases freed into the atmosphere by deforestation actually exceeds the total generated by all the world's transport systems (cars, trains, ships and planes). Some of the obtained wood is also likely to be transported to other parts of the globe for use in furniture manufacture etc. Some estimates, factoring in deforestation, actually make Indonesia the world's third largest producer of carbon dioxide. One can only hope that this programme (that has to convince the local population that trees in the ground are more valuable than the wood they generate) is successful.

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