08 May 2008
Indonesia: The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has issued guidelines on the reconstruction of Aceh, following the Boxing Day tsunami. The organisation's key concern is that vast areas of Indonesian forest will be cut down to provide timber. It is calling for donor countries to supply sustainable timber to the province.
The call for imported sustainable timber for Aceh is the first phase of the WWF initiative, which is aimed at minimising the impacts that large-scale rebuilding would have on the province's already damaged environment. A report by WWF and Indonesian policy research institution Greenomics estimates that 1 million m3 of timber will be needed to rebuild Aceh over the next five years.
“If all this timber was sourced from Sumatra, the result would be massive deforestation, which would lead to floods and landslides and the potential for further tragedy for the Indonesian people,”said Tessa Robertson, head of the forests programme at WWF-UK.
According to WWF, loss of forests would also threaten Indonesia's beleaguered wildlife, including endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger, rhino and elephant, and the region's populations of orang-utans.
Ms Robertson added: “Indonesia's forests have already been devastated by illegal logging. The demand for timber to reconstruct Aceh would put even more pressure on the remaining forests and is likely to lead to even more illegal logging.”