Malaysian Oil Palm Threatens Brazilian Amazon

462 supporters

End of campaign: May 19, 2014

Malaysia's government owned and subsidized oil palm and agrofuel industry -- the scourge of Asia and the world's rainforests -- is continuing to expand, this time into the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. Malaysia‘s Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) will soon break ground on a joint venture with a Brazilian firm to establish 30,000-100,000 hectares (ha; 75,000 – 250,000 acres) of oil palm plantations in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rainforest.

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THIS STILL CURRENT ALERT HAS BEEN UPDATED Malaysia's government owned and subsidized oil palm and agrofuel industry -- the scourge of Asia and the world's rainforests -- is continuing to expand, this time into the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. Malaysia‘s Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) will soon break ground on a joint venture with a Brazilian firm to establish 30,000-100,000 hectares (ha; 75,000 – 250,000 acres) of oil palm plantations in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rainforest. Similar oil palm development continues to devastate Asia-Pacific's rainforests, and increasingly the world, with some thirty square miles of carbon and biodiversity rich habitat being cleared a day to provide palm oil for the global food and chemical industry as well as agrodiesel for transport. Oil palm agrofuel is heralded as a climate change mitigation measure, yet the rainforest clearance leads to much more carbon release than its production and use avoids. Oil palm hastens regional and global ecosystem collapse. Should oil palm production — in toxic, biologically impoverished monoculture tree plantations — become widely established in the Brazilian Amazon (almost certainly, eventually to fuel cars in the United States) it would be a global ecological tragedy for biodiversity and climate, and a crime against local peoples and humanity. Oil palm plantations will endanger the Amazon's flora and fauna, cause environmental upheaval, and result in drastic cultural change. The initial logging will cause many rare species to go extinct, and toxic waste and runoff will threaten freshwater and marine ecosystems. Malaysian tax dollars, along with subsidies from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, are to be used to colonize Earth's largest rainforest, on the other side of the world. FELDA is a Malaysian government agency that is accountable to the Prime Minister's Department. Recently Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (then Deputy) said Felda Global Ventures Brazil Sdn Bhd would invest some RM25mil (US$7.12mil) for a 70% stake in the project near the Amazon River in Brazil, planting between 3,000 ha and 5,000 ha every year. It is estimated that 2.3 million square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon are suitable for growing oil palm. FELDA also has some 105,000 ha of oil palm plantation ventures at the expense of primary rainforests in Papua New Guinea and at least 45,000 ha in Indonesia. Large scale biofuel production runs counter to urgently addressing climate change and threatens to cause more deforestation, hunger, human rights abuses, and degradation of soil and water. Global ecological sustainability and local well-being depend critically upon ending all industrial development in the world's remaining old forests -- including plantations, logging, mining and dams. The amount of primary and old growth forests that have been lost has already overshot the carrying capacity of Earth. Globally there are not enough old forests to maintain climatic and hydrological cycles, meet local forest dwellers' needs, and to maintain ecosystems and the biosphere in total. Local peoples must be assisted to fully protect, restore and benefit from intact, standing forests.

Letter

To: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak

cc: Dato Ahmad Tarmizi Alias, FELDA Director; FELDA Regional Offices; Malaysian UN Mission

ppm@pmo.gov.my, upd@felda.net.my, ghani.ma@felda.net.my, kasimon.s@felda.net.my, malib.ar@felda.net.my, malaysia@un.int

Dear Prime Minister Najib Tun Raza,

I and other have written earlier to Dato Ahmad Tarmizi Alias, FELDA Director, copied to you, vigorously opposing the Malaysian government's intent, through its Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) government agency, to profit from the clearfelling of the Brazilian Amazon's ancient biodiversity rich rainforests to establish toxic oil palm plantation monocultures. Some of us have received a response from Wan Zaleha Wan Embong, FELDA's Public Relations Department, disavowing the plans and stating "for your info the project never take (sic) place."

As a matter of urgent importance, could you please confirm that FELDA's Amazonian oil palm project has in fact been canceled? We are very concerned with Malaysian tax-payer dollars being used to turn huge portions of the Amazon and Papua New Guinea rainforest from a biodiverse, carbon rich paradise into a big lifeless, toxic monoculture and environmental disaster. And now we hear another Malaysian oil palm company is set to massively expand in Liberia, West Africa. Please ensure these projects' approvals are immediately withdrawn, and that no further Internet censorship of discussion regarding rainforests and oil palm occurs.

Your government's long-time and continuing actions in support of industrial oil palm and logging in primary rainforests worldwide are having devastating consequences for communities, local soil and water, biodiversity and ecosystems, and regional and global climate. It is also negatively impacting your great nation's international reputation. It is completely unacceptable for Malaysia's government to profit from investments that destroy rainforests for oil palm and result in species extinction and climate change. At some point developing countries, including Malaysia and Brazil, that are clearing their and other's rainforests, must take responsibility for their growing contribution to climate change.

This campaign will stop once we have received confirmation that FELDA will no longer consider developing oil palm in the Amazon or Papua New Guinea rainforests, and assurances that your government will stop private Malaysian companies from doing so in other countries including Liberia as well. Global ecological sustainability and local well-being depend critically upon ending all industrial development in the world's remaining old forests -- including plantations, logging, mining and dams -- and assisting local peoples to benefit from protected and restored standing forests. The world is watching and you are advised to take this matter seriously.

Sincerely,