17 February 2012
More than 400,000 hectares (1 million acres) of land — including 350,000 hectares of peatland — in Indonesian New Guinea lost their protected status during a November 2011 revision of Indonesia's moratorium on new forest concessions, reports a new analysis by Greenomics-Indonesia, a Jakarta-based NGO.
The report, Peatland and forest at serious risk from Merauke food and energy estate development, focuses on The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), a giant agricultural project in southwestern New Guinea. Backers say the 1.2 million hectare project will improve food and energy security in the region, but critics contend the scheme will primarily enrich agribusiness developers. MIFEE will result in the conversion of large areas of peatlands and forests for industrial farming and plantations.