Aceh Governor reinforces President’s palm oil moratorium policy

(foresthints.news) - As part of a follow-up to the declaration of a moratorium on the expansion of palm oil plantation and mining in the Leuser Ecosystem, which was made by Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry along with Acehnese leaders (Apr 19), the governor of Aceh has issued a Gubernatorial Instruction on a moratorium for new palm oil permits, effective for foreign and domestic investors alike.

Furthermore, this moratorium is applicable to the whole of Aceh, not merely the Leuser Ecosystem. The legal basis for the enforcement of this moratorium, which was signed on 25 October, also encompasses a moratorium on coal mining.

“Of course I’m happy, because Aceh is acting on our numerous important meetings as well as my letters to the Aceh governor. This type of collaboration is really useful and productive when it comes to saving all remaining forests, in line with the announcement made by President Jokowi in mid-April this year,” Dr Siti Nurbaya, the Environment and Forestry Minister, told foresthints.news on Wednesday (Nov 2).

As previously reported by foresthints.news, the Aceh government also issued a circular letter (Jun 17) to plantation companies ordering them not to undertake any land-clearing in the Leuser Ecosystem while awaiting the formulation of a legal basis for enforcing the palm oil expansion moratorium nuationally.

The following video, which was shot as part of the intensive monitoring efforts being conducted by the ministry and Greenomics Indonesia, show just how good the forest cover of forests currently situated in palm oil concession in the Leuser Ecosystem actually is.

This video illustrates a palm oil concession in the southern part of Aceh which is dominated by still intact forest and plays host both to the Sumatran tiger and in some parts to the Sumatran elephant.

These photos show remaining forest in a palm oil concession located in the eastern part of Aceh, an area which forms part of the habitat of the Sumatran elephant in the Leuser Ecosystem.

The combination of the circular letter and the gubernatorial instruction, Minister Siti Nurbaya continued, is sufficient from a legal perspective to enforce the protection of Aceh’s forests, in particular those in the Leuser Ecosystem which are still in good condition.

“We are continuing to perform monitoring on the ground. The Leuser Ecosystem will very much determine the level of sustainable development in Aceh,” the minister explained.

The Leuser Ecosystem is not only the home of key wildlife such as the Sumatran orangutan, elephant and tiger, but it also plays a crucial role in supporting the economy, especially in the agricultural sector which is a significant contributor to economic growth in Aceh.