Forests are the lifeblood for millions of people around the world. Murniah, a 40-year-old mother of one in Mentaya Seberang village in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan Province, knows this only too well.
Large areas to the west of her village on the Mentaya river have been converted to palm oil. Good for a short-term boost in incomes but not so good for the environment.
“The forest is very important,” she said. “There are many examples where the forest has been opened up, such as for palm oil, and this has caused flooding. We only care about rubber and rattan,” she said during a village meeting to discuss a project to save a vast peat swamp forest just to the east.
Forests have become central to efforts to curb the pace of climate change because they soak up large amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide from power stations, industry and transport. They are a key part of two-week climate talks in the Mexican resort of Cancun that began on Monday aimed at stepping up efforts to curb the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.