Archive | May 2012

Leuser, the Sumatran orangutan shot 62 times – in pictures | Guardian UK

A moving story of an orangutan who was rescued from being sold as a gift, reintroduced to the wild only to be captured again by villagers who shot him repeatedly for fun

- Photo essay by Paul Hilton

click here for the series of photos

Palm Oil Permits to be Revoked, says Forestry Minister

As publised in KOMPAS, Ministry of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan ensured on Wednesday (23/5) the withdrawal of the permit for 1,605 ha area in Leuser Ecosystem’s Tripa Peat Swamp, Aceh. Regional Heads are requested to be careful before issuing permit for land use conversion.

Palm Oil Permit To Be Revoked – Tripa Case Could Occur In Various Regions

JAKARTA, KOMPAS – Ministry of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan ensured on Wednesday (23/5) the withdrawal of the permit for 1,605 ha area in Leuser Ecosystem’s Tripa Peat Swamp, Aceh. Regional Heads are requested to be careful before issuing permit for land use conversion.

“I’ve met with the elected Aceh Governor, Zaini Abdullah and (Vice Governor) Muzakir Manaf. The permit will be withdrawn after inauguration,” said Zulkifli Hasan in Jakarta yesterday. The inauguration will be held on June 4, 2012.

In Banda Aceh, the elected Governor Zaini Abdullah said that he is ready to stop issuance of land clearing for plantation to companies proven to violate the law and to threat the sustainability of the forest. This is also to be charged to PT Kalista Alam in Nagan Raya’s Tripa Peat Swamp.

“The Presidential Instruction is clear that it (Tripa Peat Swam) is within the Leuser Ecosystem, a forest area with protecting function. Presidential Instruction stated it has to be stop. In the future, we will pay attention, we will stop permits that are not in compliance with the Presidential Instruction,” said Zaini.

The case started as Aceh Governor (Irwandi Yusuf) issue a permit to PT Kalista Alam in August 2011 to utilise 1,605 ha for oil palm plantation. This policy has been condemned by various parties since it was issued while Indonesia is in terms of applying moratorium of new permits within forest and peatland areas.

The Tripa Peat Swamp is categorized to solid peat areas rich with its biodiversity and part of Leuser Ecosystem.

The case reached the Development Supervision and Control Division of the Presidential Working Unit (UKP4), which then recommended an investigation. The result, indication of deliberate clearing by burning as well as destruction of peat ecosystem has been identified.

According to Zulkifli, the 1,605 ha has the status of area for other purpose, means that the authority of its utilisation is under the Regional Government, not the Ministry of Forestry.

Therefore, he requested the Regional Heads to be careful with the issuance of permits within protected areas. “Back in 2009 I used to simply signed (permits) because I did not understand.  Now, cross check with the map first, is it within the moratorium areas or not,” he said.

Review

Deddy Ratih of WALHI said that the 1,605 ha is only a small piece amongst other plantation on eatlands of Leuser Ecosystem. He urge to review the permits.

Heru Prasetyo, 1st Deputi of the UKP4, said that the chaos of permits such as the one in Tripa Peat Swamp can occur in various regions. He call to civil society for being more active in controlling and in observing forests and peatlands.

The momentum of the permits moratorium is expected to be the arena for the improvement of resources management in Indonesia. “The President himself requested to monitor the implementation of the moratorium,” said Heru.

Government Applies Triple Track to Stop Permit on Tripa Peat Swamp | Berita Satu

Government Applies Triple Track to Stop Permit on Tripa Peat Swamp

The Government has filed lawsuit, both civil law and criminal law, based on the indication of violently issued permit on Aceh’s Tripa Peat Swamp.

“For the case in Tripa, we apply triple track, which includes criminal law suit currently being in the phase of investigation referring to the Law 32/2009 on the Environmental Protection and Management related to the clearing by burning, the Law on Plantation related to the unpermissive activities. Thirdly, civil investigator of forestry using the Law No. 5/1990 on Conservation in the connection with orangutan habitat,” said the Head of the Law Enforcement Working Group of the Task Force REDD+, Mas Achmad Santosa on Monday (21/5) in Jakarta.

The second track, continued Mas Achmad, who is also the Director of Law Enforcement of UKP4, is through civil lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Environment related to forest rehabilitation.

“There is ecosystem damages resulting in public indemnity, which will be pursuit by the Ministry of Environment referring to the Law No. 32/2009 that has standing rights. The third track, we will file administrative lawsuit, since a violation has been identified, while the issuing authority is requested to withdraw the permit. This is an ultimate remedy to conduct revocation of license,” said Mas Ahmad.

The case of Tripa Peat Swamp emerged based on NGOs report in November 2011 as they presumed that the Government of Aceh has deliberately issued exploration permit for 1,605 peat swamp area in Tripa, which is part of Leuser Ecosystem.

A look at the moratorium map of the Ministry of Forestry, it is visible that they (remarks: Government of Aceh) issued the permit oto PT Kalista Alam.

Based on field findings of the Task Force REDD+, the area has been cleared by burning prior to the issuance of the permit and planted with oil palm.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the Head of the Task Force REDD+, said that mengatakan Tripa Peat Swamp is already re-include in the moratorium map, means that no permit can be issued.

“The primary is that all activities have to be ceased. The status (of Tripa Peat Swamp) has been determined as a non-convertible status. As for law enforcement and rehabilitation, it will be the next step. For now, the permit is revoked,” said Kuntoro adding that there will be no land swap for PT Kalista Alam.

Written by: Fidelis E Satriastanti/ Kristantyo Wisnubroto

The Case of Tripa Peat Swamp: Peat Rehabilitation Is the Responsibility of the Company | KOMPAS

as published in KOMPAS, 23 May 2012

Jakarta, KOMPAS – Restoration of Tripa Peat Swamp Forest within the Aceh’s Leuser Ecosystem, which is damaged through clearing by burning, is the responsibility of the company operating in the area. The damage is currently being calculated by the Ministry of Environment and experts from Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB).
“The result from the lab is estimated to be finalised,” said Basuki Wasuki from the Lab of Forest Influence of the forest ecology of IPB, Tuesday (22/5) in Jakarta.
Together with Hero Suharjo (Dean of the Faculty of Forestry and Head of the Lab for Forest Fire and Agriculural Land), he (remarks: Basuki) was requested by the Ministry of Environment to join the analysis of the case of Tripa Peat Swamp.
Basuki explained that he took some samples several weeks ago from and conducted observation in Tripa. He concluded that peat fires of more than 500 ha occurred for the purpose of oil palm plantation.
Visual observation was then continued with lab analysis to support legal evidence and environmental damage calculation.
Through lab analysis, the rate of peat dryness, loss of flora and fauna as well as other damage can by concluded. The reference for the calculation is the Regulation of the Minister of Environment No. 13/2011 on the Financial Indemnity for Damage caused by Pollution and/or Environmental Destruction.
Details of the value are the indemnity for damage caused by unfulfilled responsibility, indemnity to verification and environmental observation cost(survey and lab), indemnity to rehabilitation cost and environmental damage.
Deputy of Environmental Planning, Sudariyono, explained that the cost and the effort for the rehabilitation of Tripa Peat Swamp, according to the laws, are the responsibility of the company or of the company’s individual. This is based on the Article 116 and 108 of the Law No. 32/2009 on the Protection and Management of the Environment.
“The risk for the perpetrator of environmental destruction is the deprivation of profits and withdrawal of the concession permit as well as cessation of palm oil activities.
Besides indemnity to the environmental damage and recovery cost, crime lawsuit is also to be filed. Last Tuesday, two persons, each representing one company, have been interrogated by civil investigator.

Hearing of Witnesses | KOMPAS

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KOMPAS/MOHAMAD BURHANUDIN Stumps spread within thousands of ha of Tripa Peat Swamp area turned into charcoal caused by clearing by burning for oil palm plantation in the village of Pulo Kruet, Sub district of Darul Makmur in Aceh’s Nagan Raya District.

JAKARTA, KOMPAS – Civil investigator from the Ministry of Environment on Tuesday (22/05) afternoon started hearing of witnesses of the burning of Leuser Ecosystem’s Tripa Peat Swamp in Aceh’s Nagan Raya District. The witnesses are from the management of PT Kalista Alam and PT Surya Panen Subur 2.

“This hearing is the follow-up on the onsite investigation conducted several times ago. Two witnesses from the companies attended the hearing. Next week we are going to invite witnesses from the local government, such as from the District Office of Forestry, Agriculture and other related offices,” said Deputy of Environmental Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment, Sudariyono, in Jakarta.

While in Nagan Raya, the team has interview the witnesses from local community, filed to strengthen the findings of the investigator.

Sudariyono put forward that the investigator team has found that area of Tripa Peat Swamp was cleared by burning for oil palm plantation. The burning violates the Article 108 of the Law No. 32/2009 on the Environmental Protection and Management, charge with the minimum of 3 years up to 10 years in prison and fined with the minimum of IDR 3 billion up to 10 billion.

Besides the criminal aspect, the investigator also applied civil rights, as there is environmental destruction caused by the fire resulting in state loss. “The indemnity is still being calculated. The civil process is in parallel to the criminal lawsuit,” said Sudariyono.

The case emerged after WALHI and several others NGOs in Aceh filed a lawsuit against the Governor of Aceh based on the issuance of a permit for 1,605 ha within the area of LEuser Ecosystem. The Administrative Court in Banda Aceh rejected to make a verdict.

The awkwardness of the permit issuance alerted the Development Supervision and Control Division of the Presidential Working Unit (UKP4).

Meanwhile, the Director of PT Surya Panen Subur, Eddy Sutjahyo Busiri, said that his company did not set the fire, but was a victim of the fire set by the neighbouring plantation. “We reported directly to the police and local environmentalists to witness the fire themselves,” he said

Indonesia peatland back on protected list in test case | Reuters

May 21 (Reuters) – Indonesia‘s government said on Monday it would protect a strip of peatland in Aceh province at the centre of an international storm over palm oil development, in a case that had become a test of the country’s commitment to halt deforestation.

Indonesia imposed a two-year moratorium on clearing forest last May under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, but the former governor of the country’s westernmost Aceh province breached the ban by issuing a permit to a palm oil firm to develop the peatland.

This prompted legal action from environmental groups and probes by the police and several government bodies.

The resulting preliminary investigation showed that the permit was issued to palm oil firm Kallista Alam without following proper procedures, a government official said.

The forest, home to endangered orangutans, was partly cleared by burning, even before the permit was issued, said Mas Achmad Santosa, an official at the presidency.

“The case of Kallista Alam in Aceh is the typical problem we are facing … some parts have been turned to palm oil plantations, some have been burned, and it turned out the permit does not exist,” said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, who is in charge of overseeing forestry sector reform.

He said the peatland would again be listed as a protected area.

Former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf issued the permit to open 1,605 hectares of land for palm oil in the Tripa peatland area in August last year.

Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil exporter and has seen rapid growth in production of the edible oil, used to make cooking oil and biscuits, in recent years.

(Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Jeremy Laurence)

Tripa Peat Swamp Re-Included in the Moratorium

as published in KOMPAS, 22 May 2012

Government Consistency Positively Welcomed by Civil Organisations

Jakarta, KOMPAS – Tripa Peat Swamp in the Aceh’s Nagan Raya District is re-included in the second revision of the moratorium map. The area of 1,605 ha of PT. Kalista Alam intended for oil palm plantation will be protected against any logging or peatland clearing activities.

Deputy of Law Enforcement  of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control (UKP4), Mas Achmad Santosa,  said on Monday (21/5) in Jakarta that all company’s activities within the 1,605 ha area had to be halted. “Besides that, we also proceed with legal lawsuit,” he said.

He explained the currently investigated legal case in details, which is the indication of violation of the Law No. 32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management in regards to the clearing by burning activity. Then, violation of the Law No. 18/2004 on Plantation, being operating without permit. Violation of the Law No. 5/1990 on Conservation of Biodiversity and its Ecosystem, since the company operates within the Leuser Ecosystem. For information, the Joint Investigators of the Ministry of Environment, the Attorney General and the State Police are now conducting the hearing of witnesses, including those from the company.

Besides criminal lawsuit, the UKP4 recommended that the Ministry of Environment, on behalf of the state, prosecutes the company to pay the damage caused by the destruction of the local ecosystem. The damage is currently being calculated by the Ministry of Environment.

Being asked about possible applied sanctions, the Head of UKP4, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, said that the probability of corruption and state administration delicts would be traced back. “This is still being elaborated. To be cleared, guilty official can be administratively punished and corruption will face criminal charges,” he said.

Positively welcome

Separately, the Executive Director of Greenomics, Elfian Effendi, praised UKP4 for being consistent with the protection of Tripa Peat Swamp against destructive threats caused by palm oil expansion. “The consistency has saved orangutan habitat and the protecting function of Tripa Peat Swamp,” he added.

The case started in August 2011 as the Aceh Governor serving during that time issued a plantation permit for PT Kalista Alam. Although, in May 2011, the particular area in the permit, the 1,605 ha, was included within the areas of the moratorium.

But, under the first revision of the moratorium in November 2011, this particular area was excluded. The permit issued by the Aceh Governor was then filed for administrative court by WALHI. The panel of judges rejected the case and WALHI appealed.

This issue has been smelled by the UKP4 that recommended comprehensive investigation on the case, including onsite investigation. The investigation identified the lack of concession permit and other violations, such as clearing by burning of the peat and expired license.

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