Forest Loss in Sumatra Promises a ‘Carbon Bomb’


蘇門答臘森林去了 「二氧化碳炸彈」來了



Ed Wray/Associated Press
A burned stump from a once dense forest stands in a field being cleared for a palm oil plantation in Sumber, Indonesia.

By PETER GELLING
Published: December 6, 2007



KUALA CENAKU, Indonesia – Here on the island of Sumatra are some of the world’s fastest-disappearing forests.
全球消失最快的森林,部分就在蘇門答臘島上。

A look at this vast wasteland of charred stumps and dried-out peat makes the fight to save Indonesia’s forests seem nearly impossible.
只消看看這片廣大荒地上的焦黑樹墩和乾涸泥煤,就會覺得印尼的森林幾乎無法挽救。

The Impact of Logging

“What can we possibly do to stop this?” said Pak Helman, 28, a villager here in Riau Province, surveying the scene from his leaking wooden longboat. “I feel lost. I feel abandoned.”
印尼廖內省吉仙納庫村的28歲村民帕克‧海爾曼從有隙縫的木製大艇上察看現場景象,他說:「我們如何阻止得了此事?我覺得失落,感覺茫然無依。」

Pulp and paper companies have descended on Riau.

In recent years, dozens of pulp and paper companies have descended on Riau, which is roughly the size of Switzerland, snatching up generous government concessions to log and establish palm oil plantations. The results have caused villagers to feel panic.
近年來,數十家紙漿和紙品業者擁入面積約與瑞士同大的廖內,從政府取得條件寬鬆的特許權,砍伐林木,闢建以生產棕櫚油為目的的棕櫚園。結果造成當地村民恐慌。

Cutting timber from forests like the one in Kuala Cenaku, Indonesia, accounts for 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Only five years ago, Mr. Helman said, he earned nearly $100 a week catching shrimp. Now, he said, logging has poisoned the rivers snaking through the heart of Riau, and he is lucky to find enough shrimp to earn $5 a month.
海爾曼說,僅僅5年前,捕蝦還能讓他每周賺進將近100美元。他說現在伐木使得蜿蜒穿越廖內心臟地帶的河流受到毒物汙染,他一個月捕的蝦子能賣到5美元,就算幸運了。


Responding to global demand for palm oil, which is used in cooking and cosmetics and, lately, in an increasingly popular biodiesel, companies have been claiming any land they can.
鑑於全球對棕櫚油需求殷切,業者竭盡所能取得土地。棕櫚油可以用於烹調、製造化妝品,以及近來日益風行的生質柴油。


Fortunately, from Mr. Helman’s point of view, the issue of Riau’s disappearing forests has become a global one. He is now a volunteer for Greenpeace, which has established a camp in his village to monitor what it calls an impending Indonesian “carbon bomb.”
從海爾曼的觀點來看,廖內森林消失的問題成了全球性議題,可算是不幸中的大幸。他現在是環保組織「綠色和平」的義工。綠色和平在他居住的村落設立據點,監測被該組織稱為即將出現的印尼「二氧化碳炸彈」。


Deforestation, during which carbon stored in trees is released into the atmosphere, now accounts for 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to scientists. And Indonesia releases more carbon dioxide through deforestation than any other country.
科學家指出,砍伐森林的過程中,會造成儲存在樹木內的二氧化碳釋出到大氣層中,目前全球20%的溫室效應氣體排放肇因於此。印尼砍伐森林所釋出的二氧化碳比任何國家都多。


Within Indonesia, the situation is most critical in Riau. In the past 10 years, nearly 60 percent of the province’s forests have been logged, burned and pulped, according to Jikalahari, a local environmental group.
在印尼國內,廖內的情況最危急。當地環保團體「吉卡拉哈里」表示,過去10年來,該省將近60%的森林遭到砍伐、焚燒和被拿去製作紙漿。


“This is very serious – the world needs to act now,” said Susanto Kurniawan, a coordinator for Jikalahari who regularly makes the arduous trip into the forest from the nearby city of Pekanbaru, passing long lines of trucks carting palm oil and wood. “In a few years it will be too late.”
「吉卡拉哈里」連絡人蘇山托‧庫爾尼萬說:「這問題非常嚴重,世人現在就得採取行動。」庫爾尼萬經常從附近的北干巴魯市展開深入森林的艱困之旅,沿途經過大排長龍的卡車,上面裝載棕櫚油和木頭。他說:「再耽誤幾年,就來不及了。」


The rate of this deforestation is rising as oil prices reach new highs, leading more industries to turn to biodiesel made from palm oil, which, in theory, is earth-friendly. But its use is causing more harm than good, environmental groups say, because companies slash and burn huge swaths of trees to make way for palm oil plantations.
油價創新高,更多行業轉而採用以棕櫚油製成的生質柴油,森林砍伐速率也因而加快。生質柴油在理論上對地球較環保。不過環保團體指出,使用生質柴油弊多於利,因為業者為闢建植棕櫚人造林,砍伐且焚燒大量樹木。


Even more significant, the burning and drying of Riau’s carbon-rich peat-lands, also to make way for palm oil plantations, releases about 1.6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases a year, according to Greenpeace officials.
更重要的是,根據綠色和平組織幹部指出,同樣為了種植棕櫚油人造林而焚燒廖內富含碳的泥煤地,並使之乾燥,一年會釋出約16億公頓的溫室效應氣體。


But it is also in Riau that a new global strategy for conserving forests in developing countries might begin. A small area of Riau’s remaining forest will become a test case if an international carbon-trading plan called REDD is adopted.
不過,保護開發中國家森林的新全球性策略也可能在廖內展開。名為REDD的國際性二氧化碳交易計畫若能夠通過,廖內殘存的一小塊森林區將變成實驗案例。


REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, essentially would involve payments by wealthy countries to developing countries for every hectare of forest they do not cut down.
REDD即是「減少來自森林砍伐與林地退化的溫室效應氣體排放」的簡稱,內容涉及富有國家付錢向開發中國家購買每公頃未砍伐林地消耗的二氧化碳量。


Indonesia, caught between its own financial interest in the palm oil industry and the growing international demands for conservation, has been promoting the carbon-trading plan for months.
印尼夾在自身棕櫚油工業所帶來的財務利益,與國際間日益高漲的保護森林聲浪之間,推廣這個二氧化碳交易計畫已有數月之久。


But there are plenty of skeptics, who doubt it will be possible to measure just how much carbon is being conserved – and who question whether the lands involved can be protected from illegal logging and corruption.
不過,有許多人對此持懷疑態度,他們懷疑能否量出到底節約了多少二氧化碳,以及參與這項計畫的土地能否逃脫盜伐和貪汙的魔掌。


But Mr. Helman has been ferrying a steady stream of foreign environmentalists and journalists in and out of the forest in recent weeks as the global climate talks took place on Bali.
不過在世界氣候變遷會議假峇里島舉行之際,海爾曼數周來不斷載運川流不息的外國環保人士和記者進出這片林地。


“I am so thankful for the recent attention,” he said. “At times it seems too late. But I see some hope now.”
他說:「外界近來的關注令我欣慰。有時這似乎來得太晚。不過我現在看到一些希望。」

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