Forests threatened under lockdown
During the pandemic, governments around the world have shown a worrying trend to weaken the laws that protect forests and people.
Community-based monitoring – where local people document the criminal destruction of forests in their area – has been severely affected by lockdowns, and reports of violence against people exposing forest crimes have been silenced.
What’s at risk?
When the world looks the other way, the effects on animals, people and our forests are catastrophic.
- We lose vital habitats for endangered species.
- We lose trees that help prevent climate change.
- Indigenous people lose their land and livelihoods.
- We risk new infectious diseases leaping from animals to humans.
How you can help
The world’s forests are our last line of defence against climate change, the extinction of wildlife and to prevent the next pandemic.
Please donate today and help us:
- Campaign for tighter laws and regulations around the timber trade.
- Hold powerful companies to account for their exploitation of forests and indigenous people.
- Work with like-minded partners to raise awareness.
- Carry out investigations into illegal logging, illicit timber and corruption.
- Expose the transnational criminal gangs who exploit the forest for profit.
Save the world’s forests
By supporting EIA during the coronavirus pandemic, you can help us defend some of our planet’s most precious resources as we work to protect endangered species, the environment and humanity.
The world’s rainforests are home to some of our most important endangered animals – from elephants, tigers and gorillas to chimpanzees and orangutans. Help us shine a light on the impact of forest loss on threatened wildlife species and defend their territory for the future.
Protect the climate
The ancient, slow-growing trees of the rainforest act as carbon storehouses, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and working to mitigate climate change. These irreplaceable forests serve as the planet’s lungs, filtering carbon dioxide and providing us with the oxygen we breathe. Globally, the loss of forests can reduce rainfall and increase temperature thousands of miles away from where the forest itself is located.
By protecting the world’s forests, we are safeguarding the lands, lives and cultures of millions of people in indigenous communities. They have a right to control of their own land, and also hold many of the solutions; we are their allies in the battle to protect forests from large-scale illegal logging.
Scientists warn that the destruction of the world’s forests risks bringing wild animals into closer contact with people and livestock, increasing the likelihood that new diseases like Ebola, SARS and COVID-19 could be transmitted from animals to humans.
Indonesia’s biodiversity under threat
Indonesia is made up of around 17,000 islands that contain some of the oldest, most biodiverse areas of forest on the planet.
The country has an astonishing 10% of the world’s remaining tropical forests, which are home to numerous endangered animals including the orangutan, the Sumatran tiger, the Javan rhinoceros and the Sumatran elephant.
Millions of indigenous people rely on the forests for their homes and livelihoods, and the forest is central to many indigenous cultures.
The critically endangered orangutan
Orangutans are great apes, native only to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. They mostly eat fruit, and spend a lot of their time in trees, foraging and building carefully constructed nests to rest and sleep in. They are already critically endangered. When their forest habitat is destroyed, their populations face unavoidable decline.
Our lockdown battle to protect Indonesian forests
Earlier this year, the Indonesian Government made moves to weaken its timber laws, using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse.
Environmentally, this was a catastrophic decision. It would have made it easier for criminal companies to pass off stolen timber as legal, incentivising illegal logging.
We were determined to fight back to protect the Indonesian rainforest.
For the first three weeks of lockdown, it was a real battle. Working with our partners on the ground, Kaoem Telapak, we presented a compelling case to the Indonesian Government, arguing that their proposed new law risked driving a boom in illegal logging.
Just days before the new law was due to come into force, the Indonesian Ministry of Trade announced that it had shelved its plans to dilute its timber regulations.
Doing the right thing
We are delighted that Indonesia decided to do the right thing, and continue to set the standard for timber regulations that protect its valuable rainforests.
It’s important to celebrate when countries make moves in the right direction. Vietnam is currently negotiating an agreement with the European Union that should help to prevent trade in illegally logged wood. And China has announced a ban on buying, processing or transporting illegal timber, following 20 years of EIA campaigns and investigations.