Peat agency indicative map adjudged to be misleading

JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - A spatial analysis performed by Greenomics Indonesia with respect to the Peatland Restoration Indicative Map, which was created by the Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency (BRG), has found that the map has no substantial basis consistent with the applicable regulations and is therefore misleading to all parties concerned.

This was announced by executive director of Greenomics Indonesia, Vanda Mutia Dewi, in Jakarta on Wednesday (Jun 29). In light of this, Vanda appealed for the map to be withdrawn from the public consultation process without delay.

She went on to describe how President Joko Widodo had been urged by the peat agency, an entity created by the president himself in January of this year, to incorporate the majority of peatland into the moratorium zone. She deplored this move as misleading from both a substantive and legal perspective.

Most of the peatland areas proposed by the peat agency to be incorporated into the moratorium zone have in fact already been designated as moratorium areas by means of the Indicative Map for the Suspension of New License Issuance (PIPPIB) in primary forest and peatland areas. This just goes to show that the PIPPIB map was not used as a reference by the peat agency when drawing up its indicative map.

Vanda didnt hold back in her criticism of the peat agency, labeling the recommendations it made to the President embarrassing and calling for it to make a public apology to him.

The peat agency may now be feeling a measure of trepidation, having been made aware of the legal and substantive shortcomings in its indicative map which has been shown to have neglected the PIPPIB in its preparation.

Vanda was scathing in her assessment of the peat agency. Its patently obvious that the peat agencys indicative map contradicts various legal elements. Whats more, it also illustrates the agencys incapacity to perform mapping in accordance with the law.

The Greenomics spatial analysis went further still, divulging that the peat agencys indicative map portrayed illegal palm plantations, studded with acacia and oil palms, situated in peat domes in state forest areas as actually being well-managed peatland. Greenomics asserted that due to this mischaracterization, the indicative map would be extremely favorable to certain palm oil business groups as well as one pulp and paper company in particular.

"The peat agencys indicative map hugely benefits a certain pulp and paper company as well as a number of palm oil companies headquartered in Singapore. This situation needs to be redressed.

Vanda denounced the use of the term well-managed peatland, explaining that if it is meant to indicate peatland not destroyed by fires in recent years, then it is disingenuous in a technical sense.

She further lamented the failure of the peat agencys indicative map to demonstrate any measures taken by the agency to revegetate drained peat domes which have been planted with acacia and oil palm. She cited Riau Province, one of the provinces prioritized for peat restoration, as an example of the maps shortcomings in this respect.

In both a substantive and legal sense, the peat agencys indicative map is misleading to all involved. We can prove this, both spatially and on the ground level," Vanda said.

Having elaborated at length on the maps numerous flaws, she exhorted Peat Agency Chief Nazir Foead not only to issue a public apology to President Jokowi, but also to apologize to the public for producing public consultation material containing such a legally misleading indicative map.

Responding to these strong remarks made by the Greenomics executive director on the peat restoration indicative map issued by the peat agency and released to the public as a matter of public consultation, the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry said that it had no level of involvement in the production of this map.

The peat agency never involved our ministry in the process of formulating the peat restoration indicative map prior to its publication, either at the technical or policy level, San Afri Awang, Director General of Forestry Planology and Environmental Governance at the ministry, told foresthints.news on Thursday (Jun 30).

Meanwhile, in his reaction to the public statements made by Greenomics Indonesia, especially those alleging that the peat agencys indicative map is misleading to stakeholders, the Peat Agency Chief Nazir Foead said that his team was reviewing all the input included in the public consultation process which was due to close on June 30, 2016, including the public input submitted by Greenomics.

We're reviewing all the input from stakeholders, including that from Greenomics. We are going to strengthen the substance of the indicative map. This is part of the process that we are undertaking. We are expecting that corrections to the peat restoration indicative map, incorporating a variety of input, will be completed by mid-July. Subsequently, we will hold intensive consultations with the Environment and Forestry Ministry, Nazir informed foresthints.news on Thursday (Jun 30).