The Ecologist


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Drone footage documents a primary drainage canal cutting through an identified 'No Go' area of buffer forest in an IOI oil palm concession in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Photo: Bjorn Vaugn / Greenpeace.

Palm oil giant IOI, rainforest destroyer, must make good its damage!

Annisa Rahmawati / Greenpeace

10th June 2016

Over 300 major food companies used to buy palm oil from IOI, writes Annisa Rahmawati. But after the company was found to be destroying vast areas of Indonesia's rainforest and draining peatlands to make new palm oil plantations, it has been deserted by its customers. Now IOI must go beyond just sticking to the rules, and start actively repairing the damage it has caused. more...
Sumatran orangutans have lost huge areas of forest habitat to logging, burning and palm oil plantations. Photo: Richard Whitcombe.

Good news for the only place on Earth where tigers, rhinos, orangutans and elephants live together

Bill Laurance, James Cook University

10th May 2016

The remarkable Leuser ecosystem in Aceh, Sumatra, has faced massive destruction over recent years with rice farms, palm oil, roads and mines, writes Bill Laurance. But that's all set to end with a moratorium on forest clearance that's supported at the highest levels of government, both state and national. This is definitely news to celebrate! But we must also maintain our vigilance. more...
Banggai Cardinalfish in their natural habitat. Photo: Fondation Franz Weber.

From coral reef to 'aquarium filler': the beauty of tropical fish is their doom

Monica Biondo / Fondation Franz Weber

15th April 2016

Gorgeous coral fish are to be seen everywhere, writes Monica Biondo, decorating aquariums in restaurants, doctors' offices and living rooms. The coral fish trade is booming! But it's destroying the reefs themselves, and driving many species to extinction. The Banggai Cardinalfish is among those unlikely to survive as this evil trade lays waste to them and their precious habitat. more...
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Timor-Leste, seen here inside a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) tent, in Beto Timur, July 2008. Photo: UN Photo / Martine Perret.

Australia's complicity in the East Timor genocide: oil, gas and the depravity of power

John Pilger

31st March 2016

In 1975 Indonesia invaded the small Pacific country of East Timor, writes John Pilger, and then massacred a third of its population to suppress demands for independence. Now unearthed documents show the genocide was supported by Australia so it could grab the oil and gas reserves of the Timor Sea. Despite East Timor's independence, won in 1999, Australia is still stealing its oil and gas revenues worth $5 billion and counting. more...
Drought and deforestation have proved to be a volatile combination in Indonesia. Photo: David Gilbert / Greenpeace, Author provided.

As Indonesia burns, its government moves to increase forest destruction

William Laurance, James Cook University

24th November 2015

'No deforestation' pledges by global food corporations are yielding results, writes William Laurance. But now the Indonesian and Malaysian governments are calling on them to abandon their promises - even as the region's rainforests go up in smoke, cleared for new oil palm plantations. The companies must hold firm to their commitments. more...
Fire in Tesso Nilo National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia, on 5th July 2015 - made available through a partnership of Global Forest Watch Fires and Digital Globe. Photo: World Resources Institute via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Why Indonesia can't put out its rainforest fires

Scott Edwards, University of Birmingham

4th November 2015

Indonesia's President Widodo has promised strong action to put out his country's raging forest fires, writes Scott Edwards. Yet this year's conflagrations are the worst since 1997. His problem? Powerful elites in forested provinces are making big money from the burning. And they see little reason to heed Widodo's pleas - or anyone else's. more...
A truck transport huge logs in Indonesia. Photo: Hari Priyadi for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Indonesia 'greenwashes' illegal timber exports

The Ecologist

3rd November 2015

Just as Indonesia's forests are going up in flames, in part as a result of illegal logging on a massive scale, the country's Trade Minister has issued a regulation that would rubber stamp exports of illegal timber - also undermining a timber agreement with the EU that's due to come into force next month. more...
Flames break through from deep peatland in burning Indonesian rainfoirest. Photo: Greenpeace via Youtube video (see embed).

Indonesian forest fires will emit more CO2 than UK

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

8th October 2015

Thanks to massive forest clearance for palm oil plantations combined with drought conditions in this 'El Nino' year, writes Zachary Davies Boren, rainforest and peatland fires across Indonesia are set to emit more carbon than the UK, while covering millions of square kilometres with choking smoke. more...
Just hanging ... Orangutan trio enjoying bananas at Pesalat Rehabilitation Center, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Palm oil versus orangutans? Don't forget the human dimension

Liana Chua

28th September 2015

The orangutans of Southeast Asia make a fantastic symbol of endangered rainforests, writes Liana Chua, rousing public opposition to palm oil companies and their bulldozers. But this story of good versus evil omits the essential human dimension. To save the rainforests and their great apes, we must make forest peoples a key part of the conservation narrative. more...
Sun sinking in smoke from Indonesia's burning forests and peatlands, Singapore, around 6pm on 21st September 2014. Photo: Yvonne Perkins via Flickr (CC BY).

Indonesia chokes as forest and peatland fires rip

The Ecologist

21st September 2015

The burning forests and peatlands of Indonesia are once again casting a pall of choking smoke across the region, in the process releasing billions of tonnes of carbon. Promises to solve the problems stand betrayed - and COP21 commitments to tackle the problem are being weakened. more...
Fishing in Ayungon, Philippines, among the many places in developing countries where local fishing provides protein and livelihood. Photo: Rare (CC BY).

Local fishing rights + marine reserves are key to small-scale fisheries recovery

Jane Lubchenco & Steven Gaines

29th December 2015

There is a simple formula for restoring life to over-exploited coastal fisheries, write Jane Lubchenco & Steven Gaines, and it has been proven to work from the Philippines and Indonesia to Mexico and Belize: to create local marine reserves for the exclusive use of local fishing communities. more...
A demonstration of West Papuans against Indonesia's military occupation. Photo: Free West Papua campaign.

West Papua: after 50 years of cruel repression, the intoxicating smell of freedom

Jason MacLeod / Waging NonViolence

4th September 2015

Indonesia's murderous campaign of military repression in its stolen territory of West Papua continues, writes Jason MacLeod. But a courageous 50-year struggle for human rights and freedom is finally bearing fruit, with growing recognition of West Papua's right to nationhood among its Pacific neighbours. Real hopes of a better future are rising above the blood and pain. more...

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Measuring mangroves: a study on above-ground and below-ground biomass in mangrove ecosystems, part of Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program (SWAMP). Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Kate Evans / CIFOR via Flickr (CC BY-NCA).

Stop mangrove destruction in Indonesia to slow climate change

Prodita Sabarini

8th August 2015

The loss of Indonesia's coastal mangrove forests for shrimp farming is a huge source of carbon emissions, writes Prodita Sabarini. But equally, a policy flip to preserve and recreate mangroves offers a major climate win. more...
Forest fires at Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, September 2011. Photo: Rini Sulaiman/ Norwegian Embassy for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Indonesia at risk from huge fires as El Niño gathers

Allan Spessa & Robert Field

17th June 2015

The conditions for an 'El Niño' climate perturbation over the Pacific appear to be in place, write Allan Spessa & Robert Field - and that means there's a high risk of large scale fires in Indonesia's forests and peatlands in coming months. more...
A truck carries palm fruit for processing from a rainforest plantation in Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Banks raising $400m for palm oil expansion 'must examine high risks'

Oliver Tickell

20th April 2015

Banks preparing to launch a $400m bond issue for a global palm oil giant with a history of legal violations and broken standards have been warned of their 'high risk client' and the 'extreme and outstanding' social and environmental conflicts in the palm oil agribusiness sector. more...
Log yard operated by plantation company PT Kahayan, October 2014. Photo: EIA.

Indonesia: palm oil expansion drives massive illegal logging

Environmental Investigation Agency / Oliver Tickell

14th January 2015

Indonesia appears to brought rainforest logging under control - but it's all a huge illusion, according to a new EIA report. Traditional logging has been replaced by the mass clearance of rainforest for oil palm plantations, creating massive supplies of hugely profitable but often illegal timber. And lurking beneath the surface is a pervasive network of criminality and corruption. more...
About half the world's coal is being produced at a loss, as buyers turn away. ALCOA Anglesea coal mine, Australia. Photo: Takver via Flickr.

Tide turning against global coal industry

Chris Rose / DeSmogBlog

2nd October 2014

King Coal's reign is coming to an end, writes Chris Rose, at least as a fuel for generating electricity. Following a price collapse half of all production is being sold at a loss - and major coal users like China are still moving away from the high-carbon fuel. more...
Lanthanotus borneensis or the Earless Monitor Lizard. Photo: TRAFFIC.

Collectors' trade threatens 'Holy Grail' of the reptile world

The Ecologist

10th August 2014

An earless species of monitor lizard from Borneo has suddenly erupted into the international trade among pet keepers and reptile collectors. Although it is protected within its range, there are no restrictions on international trade in the species. An urgent CITES listing is desperately needed! more...
Among potential 'stranded assets', this open pit coal mine in Indonesia Borneo. Photo: Parolan Harahap via Flickr.

China's coal burn 'down 40% by 2020'

Alex Kirby

6th June 2014

Coal consumption in China is likely to dwindle rapidly, writes Alex Kirby, leaving its own mining sector and foreign coal exporters in serious trouble. Australia and Indonesia are at greatest risk as China may soon stop importing any coal at all. more...
The 2014 Goldmine Prize winners - official photo.

2014 Goldman winners - fighting coal, dams, palm oil, fracking, toxic waste

Sophie Morlin-Yron

28th April 2014

Six environment heroes, one from each continent, are honoured for their work today - fighting threats from giant coal mines to forest destruction, fracking, high dams, illegal development and toxic waste dumps. Sophie Morlin-Yron reports. more...
General Mills breakfast cereals at the Entrance to Price Chopper February 2014. Photo: Mike Mozart / JeepersMedia via

General Mills promises - only deforestation-free palm oil

The Ecologist

24th March 2014

From now on General Mills, a major US food conglomerate, will buy only palm oil that does not contribute to deforestation or the loss of high carbon tropical peatlands. more...
Flying the 'Morning Star' flag of West Papua. Photo: A K Rockefeller via

West Papua's 'Act of Free Choice' - 45 years on

Free West Papua Campaign

7th March 2014

As global media focus on Crimea's forthcoming referendum on whether to join Russia, we remember another 'Act of Free Choice' in West Papua in 1969 - which set off 45 years of military occupation, theft, repression and murder. more...
Rainforest in Sumatra - cleared for an APRIL palm oil plantation. Photo: Bill Lawrance.

Are the global forest-destroyers turning over a new leaf?

Bill Laurance

13th February 2014

A succession of mega-corporations that have been driving rainforest destruction in Indonesia have recently announced 'no deforestation' policies. Bill Lawrance asks: is it too good to be true? more...
Young orangutan in the Sabangau Forest. Photo: Matt Adam Williams / OuTrop

L'Oreal moves against forest destruction

The Ecologist

30th January 2014

L'Oreal, the world's largest beauty and cosmetics company, has committed to remove forest destruction from its products by 2020. more...
Deforestation in Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network.

Pulp and paper giant - end deforestation!

The Ecologist

20th January 2014

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has warned APRIL, Indonesia's second largest pulp and paper company: end your massive deforestation or you will be expelled. more...


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