Ardiles Rante  /  Greenpeace via AFP-Getty Images
Greenpeace activists and locals pose outside the base camp inaugurated Tuesday in Indonesia.
updated 10/9/2007 1:07:25 PM ET 2007-10-09T17:07:25

Greenpeace activists in Indonesia set up camp on the edge one of the world's most threatened woodlands Tuesday, seeking to pressure political leaders before a major climate conference.

Around 40 volunteers have been stationed in Kuala Cenaku village on Sumatra island, near to where a palm oil manufacturer is clearing peatland forest to plant new crops, Greenpeace officials said in the capital, Jakarta.

Indonesia's resort island of Bali will host the U.N. climate change conference from Dec. 3-14, which aims to start negotiations on a replacement of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions that expires in 2012.

"We need international action to end deforestation," Greenpeace International forest campaigner Sue Connor said. Protecting the world's remaining forest will reduce climate change and preserve the livelihood of millions of people, she said.

Riau province on Sumatra was chosen for the campaign because it exemplifies the mismanagement of Indonesian rain forest, she said.

The activists will monitor hundreds of land-clearing fires that in recent years have blanketed parts of Southeast Asia in a choking haze. They will also conduct peatland depth and biodiversity surveys.

The Indonesian woodlands are home to endangered orangutans, tigers, elephants, rhinos and thousands of rare bird and plant species. It is being deforested at a rate of more than 40,000 acres — roughly the size of Houston, Texas — annually.

Greenpeace is calling on Indonesia to impose a moratorium on deforestation and industrial logging while protection laws can be introduced.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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