NGOs slam forest concession reactivation

Hotli Simajuntak | The Jakarta Post – Paper edition

Aceh’s title as a “green” province may likely end with the reactivation of production forest concessions (HPH) in Aceh by the new administration of Zaini Abdullah and Munakir Manaf.

“The Forestry Ministry is currently lobbying the new Aceh administration to reactivate the HPH, which was earlier suspended during Irwandi Yusuf’s administration,” said Greenomics Indonesia coordinator Vanda Mutia Dewi.

According to Vanda, Greenomics recorded around 10 production forest concessions from the previous Aceh administration.

Greenomics Indonesia has strongly criticized the planned reactivation of the 10 HPH permits in Aceh by the Forestry Ministry.

“We strongly criticize the plan to reactivate the HPH operation licenses, which were earlier imposed as a moratorium by previous governor Irwandi Yusuf,” said Vanda.

Vanda urged the current Aceh Governor Zaini not to commit to a political compromise by agreeing to reactivate HPH operations in Aceh.

According to her, Zaini should continue the moratorium and seek an alternative to curb illegal logging effectively and ensure the supply of timber for development and the housing needs of people.

Vanda said Greenomics Indonesia had given several reasons why it had been firm in requiring the stoppage of HPH operations in Aceh, such as the 10 HPH permits covering 819,892 hectares, which were located within and around the Leuser ecosystem.

Besides that, nearly 300,000 hectares of the forest concession areas are in the form of protected forests and conservation areas.

“The 10 production forest concessions are located in 15 regencies and mayoralties that are ecologically at risk of natural disasters, such as floods and landslides,” said Vanda.

Vanda urged Zaini to study the facts carefully and not mix particular political agendas to reactivate the HPH in Aceh.

The Aceh Indonesia Environmental Forum said that the planned issuance of HPH permits in Aceh was a step backward in efforts to save the environment, especially conservation forests in Aceh.

The Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) even deemed that the numerous logging moratorium programs in Aceh had not been fully implemented by the former administration and had become a burden for the new administration.

“The new administration should be extra careful in issuing HPH or mining permits again as they could damage the forests in Aceh,” said Aceh Walhi coordinator Teuku Zulfikar.

 

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About endoftheicons

The Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia is in grave danger. Local politicians want to allow logging, mining and palm oil plantations in this vulnerable area. Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers are already hanging on by a thread. They will not survive the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem.

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