Friday, December 28, 2007

Papua New Guinea's Woodlark Island rainforests to be cleared for oil palm agrofuels

At the recent Bali climate change meeting, Papua New Guinea's representative dramatically criticized the United States for its obstructionist ways. But now, according to Rainforest Portal: The PNG government continues to approve rainforest destruction and diminishment even as they vocally seek to be paid with carbon market funds for their "protection". The oil palm biofuel industry -- the scourge of Asia and the world's rainforests -- is continuing to expand into Papua New Guinea (PNG). Malaysian company Vitroplant has been granted necessary permits by the PNG government to begin clearing 70% of the rainforests on biodiversity rich Woodlark Island, some 60,000 hectares, in order to establish a massive plantation of oil palm trees.

Expansion of oil palm plantations at the expense of primary rainforests runs contrary to PNG's government public support for preserving rainforests for climate and other benefits. An oil palm plantation on Woodlark Island will endanger the island’s flora and fauna, cause environmental upheaval, and result in drastic cultural change. The islanders of Woodlark have worked hard to draw international attention to this issue, and have issued an appeal for the support of international NGOs and citizens to pressure the government to withdraw the project.

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