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31 December 2010


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Lydia - The pain you are feeling is palpable but what can be done to stop the rot that clearly starts at the top?

Unless there is responsible and accountable leadership at the highest political level, the brick wall of intransigence remains.

The current scramble to try and work out whose side is going to win should there be a vote of no confidence only reveals just how unstable the political situation is.

Most political leaders seem to be totally absorbed with their own personal agendas.

Until the PNG people start becoming politically savvy, nothing will change.

PNG Attitude is doing a great job but can you tell those of us on the outside what else we could do to help?

Sadly, none of the figures quoted are even close to the truth. If you were there in the forests you would see that they are disappearing at an alarming rate: quietly and unreported.

Companies like RH are in collusion with the PNG government; they cover their tracks and hide what they're doing from the world.

The truth is far more devastating than what is reported by any organisation; it's in the bush where 'no man goes'.

If the villagers across PNG had access to the internet, they could tell us the truth. But they are starving and dying and uneducated because they have been failed by a whole bunch of people who could have helped but chose to 'talk about it' instead!

Those who have the guts and 'madness' to do the job are all too often denigrated in favour of those who are academic and whose knowledge is from times gone by.

I urge everyone to stop reading about it and go and have a good look with their own eyes. It may change an ignorant pre-conception; or not!

Arm-chair philosophers will never be a match for people of action and results. Some things never change......this is one of them.

One's heart may be in the right place; but if their feet are not there, what is the point!

Coincidentally, 2011 has been designated by the UN as the International Year of Forests.

'Celebrating Forests for People' is the slogan.

Here's an interesting article that points to the role of deforestation being one of the main causes of global warming -

Craige - Yes this is certainly significant, but the report from the remote sensing study takes this into account.

The figures are -

Drivers for the reduction of PNG's forests 1972 - 2002

commercial logging - 48.2%
expansion of subsistence agriculture - 45.6%
forest fires - 4.4%
plantation development - 1.2%
clearance for mines - 0.6%

It would be useful to have an update to see if things have changed in the last 8 years. However the report is still well worth reading.

Peter - You might want to review your reasoning for the increase in clearing - look at the explosion in population occurring in PNG.

The need to clear more land more frequently is on the increase as population increases pressure the traditional village garden cycle. Forests are wonderful things but they don't necessarily fill hungry bellies

If you are interested in further research on the impacts on the PNG landscape of forestry, mining and agriculture, UPNG has a fascinating project based on satellite data which maps the landscape in amazing detail.

One of the UPNG research reports charts the disappearance of PNG forests over the last 30 years and concludes that forests are disappearing faster than previously thought, comparable to the rate of deforestation in the Amazon.

The main driver of forest change since the early 1970’s is commercial logging.

The remote sensing site is here -

There was a web site called Masalai I Tokaut which rather like Wikileaks "blew the whistle on forestry corruption in PNG". It has been inactive for some years now, but the archives are still on-line here -

I understand that the administrators of this site had to remain anonymous and have since stopped posting new material after receiving death threats.

There is something fishy about this report and the interests it is promoting. It comes out heavily in favour of clearing forests for palm oil production.

This is very much the conclusion also reached in the recent report, 'A Reddiness Program for PNG', by ITS Global. Both Ron Duncan and Tim Curtin were employed as independent consultants to review the ITS Global report and both were very favourable in their assessments.

ITS Global is chaired by Alan Oxley who works as a consultant for Rimbunan Hijau (RH). ITS has consistently argued the case for forest clearance and increased palm oil production in PNG to the extent that some see it merely as a propaganda arm of RH.

Of course RH has considerable economic interest in PNG logging and are planning on major new palm oil plantations.

The ITS Global report is here -

More information about Alan Oxley, ITS Global and its relationship to RH can be found here -

A group of 12 eminent scientists recently sent an open letter to Alan Oxley (online at the above link) - An Open Letter about Scientific Credibility and the Conservation of Tropical Forests.”

The letter accuses Alan Oxley and his organisation, ITS Global, of “significant distortions, misrepresentations, or misinterpretations of fact.”

So take this new report from the ANU economists with a pinch of salt.

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