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UNEP Releases Report on Orangutan and Economics of Forest Conservation in Indonesia

28 September 2011: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a report under the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), titled “The Orangutan and Economics of Forest Conservation in Sumatra.” According to the report, conserving rainforests in Indonesia could generate significant revenues, as well as deliver multiple "green economy" benefits, including combating climate change and securing water supplies.

Key findings from the report include: that forested peatlands of Sumatra represent some of the most efficient terrestrial ecosystem carbon store; Indonesia has the world's third largest area of tropical forest, and fourth largest carbon stock; over the last two decades, forest loss due to illegal logging amounts to 380,000 hectares a year, estimated at a value of greater than US$1 billion; and there are 92 percent fewer wild orangutans than there was in 1990.

The report makes recommendations for conserving orangutan populations in Sumatra, including: designating new forested areas in Sumatra for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks); further resource development, including that palm oil plantation should be concentrated on land with low current use value; and establishing income-generating alternatives for areas that are important for biodiversity, such as sustainable tourism. [UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Orangutans and the Economics of Sustainable Forest Development in Sumatra]