October 5, 2018

Bornean orangutan peat forests being burned, logged

(foresthints.news) - Not only has illegal palm oil expansion been discovered in a pulpwood concession controlled by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), as previously reported by foresthints.news (Oct 3), but it is also taking place in another location situated right next to the APP concession.

The location was granted a principle permit for a pulpwood concession in 2009 by the Indonesian Forestry Ministry in the name of PT CCM. After an official verification process, the company was also found to be part of the APP group.

In fact, this led the to the halting of the licensing process for this company to be awarded a definitive permit in early October 2017, in order to prevent widespread monopoly and oligopoly practices in the pulpwood plantation development sector. 

The location concerned lies in West Kalimantan's Kubu Raya regency and parts of it include an Indonesian peat protection zone in this peat restoration priority province, one of seven designated by President Joko Widodo in early January 2016.

A significant part of the location, which spans more than 40 thousand soccer fields, is still composed of relatively intact peat forest cover, which according to the IUCN is inhabited by the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan.  

The following photos show how ongoing illegal palm oil expansion is taking place in the location, including by the burning of forest. 

Illegal logging operations

The illegal practices do not only involve the use of parts of the location in question for palm oil plantation development, but are also targeted at exploiting the logs scattered among the peat forests.

The location’s relatively intact peat forests, which form a habitat of the Bornean orangutan, continue to be logged illegally, as seen in the photos below.

The illegal logging practices within the boundaries of the location, which include the illegal development of palm oil plantations, are being carried out near to the trans-Kalimantan highway.

The legally-prohibited operations being undertaken by third parties in the location, as well as in the APP concession, serve as a key relevant lesson learned in strengthening the government’s existing efforts to stop such illegal practices.

President Joko Widodo recently imposed a new palm oil expansion moratorium (Sep 19) pertaining especially to areas with good forest cover. Prior to this, moreover, the President also banned new peat drainage practices in early December 2016.