State of the Forest: More Than Just Timber (2008)

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State of the Forest is a hard-hitting report on the condition of Indonesia’s rainforest today. Still in the production phase, the film is presented above in 8 parts. Use the playlist button next to the play button to watch parts 2 through 8.

Through “a mixture of voices from communities covering Papua, Kalimantan and Sumatra, also blended with the expertise of some of the key Indonesian academics and activists,” State of the Forest provides an overview of the history, future, and present-day reality of Indonesia’s rainforest.

Films4, the producers of the film, explain on their website”The exploitation and clearance of forests has played a major part in funding Indonesia’s economy since the early 1970s, but the financial reward of this destruction has primarily only benefited an elite few. Land management has been largely unsustainable, based on short-term gains. The majority of the Indonesian population has had to suffer the broader consequences.”

And yet, the rate of deforestation “continues to accelerate,” a daunting concern since, palm oil plantations were established so rapidly from 1991 to 2006 — at a rate of “more than fifty” football fields an hour.

Today, “Indonesia is the second biggest producer of palm oil in the world, second only to Malaysia, and the palm oil industry provides the country with an important source of revenue. International demand has fueled the expansion of the industry.”

There is already an est. 7.2 million hectares of land covered in palm oil plantations, and the Indonesian government is planning to dedicate another 4 million hectares by 2015, solely for biofuel production.

Endlessly touted as being “environmentally friendly,” the replacement of Indonesia’s rainforest with palm oil plantations for biofuel “will exacerbate rather than reduce” stress on the environment — leading to even more natural disasters, water and air pollution, and increasing negative impacts on the 40 million Indonesians and Tribal Peoples that directly depend on the forest for their livelihood.

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