|Subject: ABC Asia-Pacific: New national
park crucial for local environment - (transcript)
ABC Radio Australia
TIMOR: New national park crucial for local environment - 17/08/2007
East Timor has established its first ever national park. The 123,000
hectare park on the eastern tip of the island, covers one of the region's
largest remaining tropical lowland and monsoon rainforests. It's now a
protected sanctuary for dozens of unique, threatened bird species and a
rich marine life.
Presenter - Girish Sawlani Speaker - Sean Cadman, National Forest
Campaign Coordinator, The Wilderness Society
Sawlani: The Ninos Konis Santana National Park is named after the
national hero and former commander of FALANTIL, the armed forces of the
independence movement who was born in Tutuala, a village within the
borders of the national park which is now being managed by the government
and local communities, with assistance from Birdlife International and the
New South Wales' Department of Environment and Climate Change. Besides
encompassing one of the largest remaining monsoon rainforests in the
region, it also includes the Coral Triangle, a marine area with the
greatest biodiversity of coral fish and reef fish in the world. And
according to National Forest Campaign Coordinator for the Wilderness
Society, Sean Cadman, the establishment of the national park is a
significant development for East Timor's unique natural environment.
CADMAN: Look it's an absolutely fantastic outcome for East Timor. This
is clearly one of the most important natural areas remaining on the
island, and what's really significant about this is that we know that
tropical deforestation and logging is one of the biggest causes and
contributers to climate change, and also we know that protecting marine
areas is the best way to ensure the long-term sustainability of fishing
stocks for fishing. So this is a very, very significant achievement that's
been made here.
Sawlani: Earlier in May, Greens Senator Bob Brown urged the Australian
government to help East Timor establish its first national park, but
instead we have seen the New South Wales Department of Environment and
Climate Change stepping in to help in the management of the park, why do
you think Australia has to take that responsibility?
CADMAN: Australia I believe really does have an obligation if you like
to put its money where its mouth is. Our Environment Minister recently
came out and said that we were going to put money into avoiding
deforestation and degradation associated with logging. This is exactly the
kind of project where we should be helping out our neighbours to provide
the money for forest protection and to provide ongoing support, both in
terms of monitoring that those forests are remaining there and also
providing the support in terms of on the ground work, rangers and
infrastructure development. It's very encouraging to see that the New
South Wales government through its Department of Environment and Climate
is directly involved.
Sawlani: And this is also crucial for East Timor's rainsforests to
maintain healthy levels of biodiversity?
CADMAN: Yes it's absolutely crucial, I mean biodiversity is in the most
appalling threat at the moment and tragically we're actually seeing an
acceleration of the loss of these sorts of areas through over-fishing and
logging and clearing, particularly for palm oil development, which
ironically is being put into provide in many cases so-called biofuels. And
so to see an example here where things are actually going in the right
direction, and we can see co-management, the development of great tourism
opportunities, I mean those are fantastic reefs off the eastern tip of
East Timor, and some of the most fabulous coral diving left in the world.
Sawlani: What benefits do you think this national park will bring to
the people of East Timor and the economy?
CADMAN: Well I mean the often cited example is the example of Costa
Rica in the Carribean, which made a very deliberate decision to protect
its forests and to get a very large proportion of its country into
national parks, because it saw clearly that the long-term future for
economic prosperity was actually based on keeping those forests standing
up with a clear eye to the global tourism market.
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