New Web Tool Facilitates Joint Efforts to Protect Great Apes and Fight Climate Change

New Web Tool Facilitates Joint Efforts to Protect Great Apes and Fight Climate Change

15th Apr 2016 Featured, Home, Press Releases

A web-based tool that superimposes maps of valuable above ground carbon stocks with great ape distribution in Africa and Asia – thereby making the strongest possible argument for protecting both – was launched this week in Monrovia, Liberia, by the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and the United Nations Collaborative Programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme).

UN Airlifts Chimpanzee to Safety in DR Congo

UN Airlifts Chimpanzee to Safety in DR Congo

24th Mar 2016 GRASP Activities, UN Rescues

An orphaned male chimpanzee discovered in a military camp in northern Democratic Republic of Congo was confiscated by Congolese wildlife officials this week and transported by United Nations peacekeepers to a rehabilitation centre in South Kivu.

Global Landscapes Forum 2015: Launching the New Climate and development Agenda

Global Landscapes Forum 2015: Launching the New Climate and development Agenda

03rd Dec 2015 Events, Home

The 2015 Global Landscapes Forum is the leading platform for bringing together individuals and organizations that have an impact on land use. The event is expected to be the largest meeting on the sidelines of the UNFCCC COP21.

Industrial agriculture, ape conservation and climate change: More than a business case for reducing deforestation

Hosts:  United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), Arcus Foundation

Day 1 – Saturday, 5 December    17.15 - 18.45    Room: Amphitheater Bleu


The recent rush towards sustainable palm oil and commitments to zero-deforestation by major corporations may be driven by public pressure and political expediency – but what are the realities of transforming the industry that produces one of the world’s most commonly used ingredients? Certified sustainable palm oil currently accounts for 20 percent of the global production, but half of that certified sustainable palm oil goes unsold, raising questions as to the market demand.

Meanwhile, land-use plans and industrial agricultural conversion continues to level rainforests across Southeast Asia and increasingly across Equatorial Africa at record rates, threatening great apes and the ecosystems in which they survive. Major palm oil producers have responded by committing to zero-deforestation policies as a means of addressing consumer demands and engaging more fully with the Sustainable Development Goals, but how many actually understand the cost – both financially and logistically – of doing so, particularly when supply chains are so difficult to monitor?

Experts will address the trajectory of industrial agriculture around the globe, with emphasis on Asia, where cultivation rates fuel all aspects of this industry, and in Africa, where cultivation rates have been relatively low but are predicted to increase dramatically in the foreseeable future.

Key questions addressed

  1. How can the growing demand for commodities, which will require increased production, be reconciled with environmental considerations that include biodiversity conservation and climate change?
  2. Can an entire industry re-invent itself in time to prevent more damage to the environment – and still meet market demand?
  3. What are the options to sustainably increase productivity and livelihoods from smallholders?
  4. How has the expansion of industrial agriculture into the tropical forest estates of Africa and Asia impacted species such as apes and affected climate change?



Background reading

State of the Apes pilot publication: Extractive Industries and Ape Conservation

How Herakles Farms’ illegal timber trade threatens Cameroon’s forests and VPA.

The Future of the Bornean Orangutan: Impacts of change in land cover and climate.

Will Oil Palm’s homecoming spell doom for Africa’s Great Apes? 

Union of Concerned Scientists (2014) Donuts, Deodorant and Deforestation: Scoring

America’s Top Brands on Their Palm Oil Commitments.


RSPO Commits to Orangutan Crisis via GRASP

RSPO Commits to Orangutan Crisis via GRASP

30th Nov 2015 Home, Palm Oil, Press Releases

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) joined the battle to protect endangered orangutans from the fires and haze ravaging Southeast Asia today with a $100,000 USD contribution to support Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) projects in Borneo.

Nadya Hutagalung: Together We Can End the Haze Crisis

Nadya Hutagalung: Together We Can End the Haze Crisis

09th Nov 2015 Editorial, Featured

On a recent flight from Jakarta to Denpasar, I stared out the window at the blue sky — a real luxury these days that I was only able to see after passing through toxic haze and smog. I am sure there isn’t a person out there who hasn’t wished for blue skies to return.

Rwanda President Backs World Great Apes Day Petition

Rwanda President Backs World Great Apes Day Petition

10th Sep 2015 Featured, Home, Press Releases

Rwanda president Paul Kagame publicly endorsed the petition to establish World Great Apes Day in his speech at the annual Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony on 5 September near Volcanoes National Park.

GRASP Hails Sarawak Support for Orangutans

GRASP Hails Sarawak Support for Orangutans

24th Aug 2015 Featured, Home, Press Releases

The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) welcomed the bold commitment to halt deforestation and support orangutan conservation in the Malaysian state of Sarawak that was announced at the recent GRASP Regional Meeting – Southeast Asia.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Haji Adenan Bin Satem announced a series of actions to protect Sarawak’s estimated 2,500 orangutans, which are endangered by clearing of forests for new oil palm plantations, illegal logging and other threats. Describing himself as an “amateur naturalist,” Adenan pledged “make decisions that are in the favour of nature.”

Indonesia Government Launches Sumatra Investigation

Indonesia Government Launches Sumatra Investigation

14th Apr 2012 Press Releases

Indonesia Government Launches Sumatra Investigation

Indonesia’s Ministry of the Environment announced today it will open an investigation into the issuance of permits to convert rainforests into palm oil plantations in Sumatra, an allegedly illegal act that may have caused the death of hundreds of orangutans in man-made fires that were set to clear the land.

The ministry’s announcement came in response to findings by the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) forest carbon reduction task force.

On April 13, the government-formed task force said it had evidence that Kallista Alam, a palm oil company, had violated regulations in turning the swamp forest into a plantation. The task force recommended that the ministry and the police further scrutinize the company’s actions.

“The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) applauds the Government of Indonesia for taking this bold step,” said GRASP coordinator Doug Cress. “The scale of the damage caused by these fires may not be immediately clear, but there’s no doubt that orangutans in Sumatra are in a perilous condition. As many as five percent of the total population may have been lost in these fires.”

The Patrons of GRASP – great ape experts Jane Goodall, Richard Leakey, Richard Wrangham and Russell Mittermeier – sent a letter to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on April 13 asking to intervene in Sumatra, as the country’s biodiversity was under “extreme threat.”


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