Large-scale felling in Indonesia's Sumatra islands to feed the domestic paper manufacturing industry has led to a severe depletion in natural forest cover. Worse, there are further plans to cut more than 1,78,000 hectares of forestland over the next two years. The situation is so distressing that buyers from Japan and the us have suspended contracts with Indonesian company Asia Pulp and Paper (app) for its failure to stop denuding forests. The World Wide Fund for Nature (wwf) has also been pressuring app, which is deep in debt, through other foreign purchasers.
The wwf disclosed that app had agreed to publish a plan, pledging that its forest operations would become self-sustaining by 2007. It may be noted that Indonesia is the world's tenth-largest paper producer. If logging continues unabated, Sumatra's lowland forest, which is home to endangered tigers and elephants, will disappear in five years.
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