By Kylie Budge
The Environmental Youth Alliance is participating in an international campaign, called SOS Siberut, to protect the ecology and people of Siberut island in Indonesia.
The campaign, coordinated by Down to Earth in London, involves circulating a petition, addressed to the Indonesian government and to the international community, opposing the destruction of this unique world treasure.
Siberut, off the coast of Sumatra, is home to some of the rarest plant and animal species in the world. Because of this, it has been included in UNESCO's biosphere program. The island, including its 18,000 indigenous inhabitants, is threatened by logging, transmigration programs and palm oil plantations.
The logging companies are causing extensive soil erosion and destroying large tracts of rainforest. These operations are a direct infringement of the timber regulations laid down by the Indonesian government. There is clear evidence that logging has encroached upon the Teitei Batti nature reserve, a protected area on the island.
There are plans for 100,000 hectares, one quarter of the island, to be logged in preparation for palm oil plantations. The business interests behind these plans are reportedly connected to the business empire of President Suharto's youngest son.
For copies of the petition, write to EYA Sydney, GPO Box R1240, Sydney 2000, or phone (02) 247 9342 for information on how to contact your local EYA.