October 22, 2018

Minister orders investigation of two illegal forestry cases

(foresthints.news) - A third party has been caught red-handed illegally removing peat forests for palm oil expansion in an APP-controlled concession (PT KSP) by a law enforcement team (Oct 8) deployed by Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya. 

The concession lies in the Kubu Raya regency of West Kalimantan, one of the peat restoration priority provinces designated by President Joko Widodo in early January 2016.

“The illegal practices in this concession (PT KSP) must be stopped. This is the order from our minister. Enforcement measures in this case are still ongoing,” the Ministry’s Law Enforcement Director General Rasio “Roy” Ridho Sani told foresthints.news (Oct 17) at the ministry building. 

Various pieces of evidence that were collected during the ground-based inspection, he explained, are being studied by his team to be used as the basis for taking relevant law enforcement measures in the case.

The following photos show field-based evidence in the form of illegal forest clearing carried out by the third party which was caught in the act of expanding palm oil plantations in the APP concession by the ministry’s law enforcement team.

Peat forests in the concession, partly shown in the photos above, have been illegally exploited since early 2017. According to APP’s own Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), the peat forests were classified as a block of high conservation value (HCV) areas. Now a palm oil plantation complex stands there, as previously reported by foresthints.news (Oct 3).

Another case 

The ministry’s law enforcement team has also been investigating a case of illegal logging in a location right next to the APP pulpwood concession (Oct 9). Initially, a pulpwood concession permit was to be granted to PT CCM for this location. 

However, due to this company’s affiliation with the APP group, the licensing process was terminated by Minister Nurbaya to avoid any extension of monopolies and oligopolies in the forestry sector, as earlier reported by foresthints.news (Oct 5).

The photos below, taken by the ministry’s law enforcement team, demonstrate the level of illegal logging operations underway in part of the location in question, an area inhabited by the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan

“These two illegal forestry cases highlight the fact that both active concession areas (PT KSP) as well as areas with the provisional status of open access (PT CCM) are similarly susceptible to encroachment and illegal logging,” Director General Roy asserted.

He also pointed out that the flow of logs sourced from illegal logging practices has been traced and the supply & demand of illegal logs coming from the aforementioned location has been identified. 

“In fact, we are continuing to explore more specifically the modus operandi behind these two cases,” Roy added.