Greenpeace and landowners in Papua New Guinea (PNG) recently launched a major international initiative in a bid to protect Asia Pacific’s last remaining ancient rainforests by unveiling a Global Forest Rescue Station in a remote part of PNG’s Western Province.
The ancient rainforests, known as “Paradise Forests,” stretch from South East Asia, across the islands of Indonesia and on towards Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Shallhorn said PNG’s Kuni tribe has invited Greenpeace to set up the rescue station on their land. “It will be a base to fast-track boundary marking the tribe’s territories to save them from the logging industry and to start new eco-forestry initiatives as a showcase to the world,” he said in a statement.
Greenpeace volunteers from around the world will live and work alongside local landowners and eco-forestry trainers at the station, sited at Lake Murray in Western Province. They will help three tribes regain control over 300,000 hectares of their territory by identifying, marking out and mapping its boundaries. This will help the tribes protect the forest from destructive and illegal logging and secure better protection for the land under state law, the statement said.
The Paradise Forests are being logged faster than any other on Earth. Less than one percent of them have any form of protection and more than a quarter of a million hectares of primary forests are destroyed each year in Papua New Guinea alone, according to the statement.
“This new initiative is part of a global effort to protect the world’s last ancient forests. Unless action like this is taken worldwide, vast numbers of species of plants and animals will become extinct, rainfall patterns will be disrupted and the global climate will change even faster than it is now,” said Shallhorn.