Barcelona, Spain – New hope was extended to some of the world's most diverse and endangered forests today as WWF, four Indonesian ministers and ten provincial governors announced a bold commitment to protect the remaining forests and critical ecosystems of Sumatra.
The agreement, announced to wide acclaim today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Indonesian government and WWF today , is the first-ever comprehensive commitment to protect the world's sixth largest island and one of its major environmental hotspots..
Sumatra is the only place on earth where tigers, elephants, orangutans and rhinos co-exist, but all are under threat as are the island's indigenous peoples. Deforestation and forest conversion for palm oil and acacia plantations in lowland deep peat forests is a major contributor to global carbon emissions.
“This agreement commits all the Governors of Sumatra’s ten provinces, along with the Indonesian Ministries of Forestry, Environment, Interior and Public Works, to restore critical ecosystems in Sumatraand protect areas with high conservation values,” said Hermien Roosita, Deputy Minister of Environment.
“The Governors will now work together to develop ecosystem-based spatial plans that will serve as the basis for future development on the island.”
WWF, CI, FFI, WCS, and other conservation groups working in Sumatrahave agreed to help implement the political commitment to protect what remains of the island’s species-rich forests and critical areas.
“WWF is eager to help make this commitment a reality to protect the magnificent tropical forests across Sumatra. These forests shelter some of the world’s rarest species and provide livelihoods for millions of people," said Mubariq Ahmad, CEO of WWF-Indonesia.
The island has lost 48 percent of its natural forest cover since 1985. More than 13 percent of Sumatra’s remaining forests are peat forests, sitting over the deepest peat soils in the world which degrade when cleared and drained to produce stupendous emissions of carbon.
“By protecting these forests from deforestation, Sumatrawill provide a significant contribution to mitigate global climate change,” said Marlis Rahman, Vice Governor of West Sumatra Province.
“There are a lot of challenges in the future to ensure the successful implementation of the commitment,” said Noor Hidayat, Director of Conservation Areas at the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry. “A broad-based effort involving local and national government officials, financial institutions, NGOs, and communities needs to work together to make this commitment a reality."
“We are calling international communities to support us in implementing the commitment on the ground,” Rahman said.
The Sumatra announcement comes a day Indonesia announced substantial measures to achieve a zero net deforestation by 2020 commitment made at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Bonn in May.
PRESS RELEASE ON SAVING SUMATRA:
Indonesia Reaches Historic Agreement to Protect the World's Most Endangered Tropical Forests
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