Woodlark Rainforests Spared for Now from Clearing for Oil Palm

EcoInternet's international protest supporting local Papua New Guinea resistance blows the project out of the water
January 16, 2008
By EcoInternet, Contact: Dr. Glen Barry , glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org
(Woodlark, Papua New Guinea) — EcoInternet welcomes reports that Vitroplant, shady developer of a proposed oil palm project on Woodlark Island in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea (PNG), has withdrawn. PNG's Minister for Agriculture and Livestock says no oil palm development will take place on Woodlark Island. Vitroplant's withdrawal was due to local and international pressure to conserve Woodlark Island's natural habitat.
The ill-conceived project was to have cleared 70% of the rainforests on biodiversity rich Woodlark Island, some 60,000 hectares, in order to establish a massive oil palm plantation. Following the direction of local peoples, EcoInternet's Earth action network was able to generate nearly 50,000 protest emails from 3,000 people in 72 countries.

The protest embarrassed the PNG government and highlighted the hypocrisy of their support of carbon payments for avoided deforestation, even as Woodlark was approved for clearance, and a rogue rainforest timber export industry continues unhindered.
“We welcome reports that the Woodlark oil palm project is dead,” states EcoInternet's President Dr. Glen Barry. “Yet campaigning will continue until Woodlark is legally removed from consideration for agricultural deforestation, and the land is returned to its residents.”
EcoInternet's PNG rainforest campaign seeks legally binding assurances that palm oil and other biofuels will not be developed on currently forested lands, and the elimination of PNG's industrial log export industry. Only then will payments for rainforest protection be justified.
“The power of networks of informed Earth citizens to support local conservation action and an end to ancient rainforest logging has again been demonstrated. The forces of ecological destruction must be confronted and defeated,” asserts Dr. Barry.

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22 Responses

  1. Phil Westwood says:

    Great result. Well done!
    Phil Westwood
    Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc Landcare Group

  2. Diane M. Kastel says:

    Can you explain or describe what animals/reptiles are saved now that the Woodlark Rainforest is not having a deforestation for palm oil. It is wonderful that local and international pressure worked!
    Thank you,
    Diane M. Kastel

  3. Hans Elleby says:

    Hi Glen.
    Thanks fore the good work.
    Hans Elleby

  4. Jan says:

    Nice to hear(read),
    good luck,

  5. Gabriel Thoumi says:

    Excellent Glen.
    I love your work!

  6. John Beba says:

    Yes – as you have already heard through the reports that Vitroplant is cut off. If you are not coming into PNG, I will update you on any
    latest news as things unfold. Meanwhile I am telling people how much you guys have contributed to battle Vitroplant out of place, and wish
    to convey my people's appreciation to all of you who joined us in the frontline battle against Vitroplant. I've mentioned you name, Fred and
    others who supported us and the peole want to thank all of you for your efforts in writing etc.
    We have fought and stood out winners – the day I heard the reports through the media and read reports in our national news papers that
    the PNG government has cancelled Vitroplant – I felt something lifted off me and just like walking eighteen inches above the ground.
    Thank you very much, appreciate your support and will never forget you – Woodlark island is now safe.

  7. Amy Harlib says:

    Great news. I hope there'll be some kind of oversight to prevent some other blindly, greedy corporation from trying this sort of thing again at Woodlark.

  8. Gerhard L. Mueller-Debus says:

    Dear Dr. Barry –
    Congratulations – this is very good news in brand-new 2008 ! Your organization's activities continue to matter from N.Y. to PNG and I love to continue to support them.
    Best regards and wishes for a happy and successful New Year !
    Gerhard L. Mueller-Debus
    Frankfurt a.M. (Germany)

  9. Jennifer says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  10. Jan Diek van Mansvelt says:

    Thank YOU sir,
    Jan Diek van Mansvelt

  11. Iona Conner says:


  12. Wanda says:

    Once in a while a win!!
    Have you read Ted Nordhaus & Michael Shellenberger. Breakthrough. From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. http://Www.thebreakthrough.org, based on their 2004 article, "The Death of Environmentalism," http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2005/01/13/doe-reprint/
    I've just finished reading it and found it sort of a ping-pong experience, agreeing, disagreeing, etc. And while they mention many of the current problems, so much more has happened since the book came out. I never thought of the environmental problems being separate from the poverty and social justice problems, but it is true that the environmental movement has largely not addressed the two together, and the authors are correct in saying that people can't face the latter until their survival needs are met. The Seattle WTO protest saw the beginnings of the all groups seeing their common cause, but it has not been built on sufficiently. Of course, it's also hard to see how the economic situations of the world's poor can be met considering the stranglehold the IMF, World Bank and the elites of these countries have on the situation. (Have you read Naomi Klein's brilliant and horrifying The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism?)

  13. Yasuko Shimizu says:

    Our Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Forest Protection Group in Japan, is so happy of the withdrawal of the oil palm project in woodlark Ireland. We strongly protest against logging and clearfelling on the island. As welll as the other part of PNG.

  14. John Weatherman says:

    Good news for a change!
    John Weatherman

  15. Dan Dalgleish says:

    Hello Dr Barry,
    Keep up the good work sir. The environmental revolution has began!
    Best Regards,
    Dan Dalgleish

  16. Julie says:

    Nice one to end the week on! Great news!
    Kind Regards

  17. Brett says:

    Congratulations on Woodlark Island, thank you very much. And my congrats to
    the local people also.

  18. Megan says:

    Dear Glen and Tim,
    I attended a Bioneers conference two years ago and a “gentleman” the CEO? of many companies, but he mentioned EcoCover in particular- literally taunted us, his audience, with the fact that his so called ecofriendly and aware and supporting company was responsible for rainforest devastation because – as he put it – the people down there took it upon themselves to decide that cutting down rainforest and growing oil palm would make them more money, as it is an important ingredient for ECOCover products.
    (I can find his name if you need it or want to know more)
    I wanted to spit at him. He so boldly told us that his company was responsible for rainforest rape- and why that was harmful to the world/environment/ everyone-in case we didn't already know that- and the he personally was claiming no responsibility and was staying in business and reaping the monetary benefits from this action.
    Your story reminded me of this event. SOOO close to home. In fact so close that both my head and my heart feels revolted by it. To say one is accountable for ones actions is such a slippery slope.
    Thank you for your actions!
    all the best always,
    Megan Mills

  19. Jan says:

    well done!
    Go on.

  20. Pauline says:

    well done! You should be proud of this achievement.

  21. Charlie Young says:


  22. Lindsay Kostoff says:

    Congratulations on Woodlark Island! This is a good idea and seems to have worked efficiently. Is this same plan being used in other areas of rainforests that are being killed?

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