May 2, 2019

More facts from palm oil landscape serve as lesson for EU

JAKARTA ( - Following a ground-based news report by (Apr 29) which focused on the last remaining peat forests in a palm oil concession (PT SPS-2) in the Tripa peatland landscape, this news report looks at the forests lying in a palm oil concession adjacent to PT SPS-2 belonging to PT Kallista Alam. 

The landscape, considered to be the orangutan capital of the world and one of the most important portions of the Leuser Ecosystem, consisted of forested peatlands equivalent in size to around six thousand soccer fields according to Indonesian forestry authorities, as reported by in June last year.

There was a relatively minor decline in the extent of the forested peatlands in the Tripa peatland landscape from June 2018 to late April 2019, with the vast majority of the peat forests still situated in two palm oil concessions - the aforementioned PT Kallista Alam and Saratoga-controlled palm oil company PT SPS-2.

These facts were revealed in a spatial analysis by the Jakarta-based forestry research group Greenomics Indonesia (Apr 30), which confirmed that major parts of the forested peatlands in the Tripa landscape are still spread within the two palm oil concessions.

Another part of the existing forested peatlands in the Tripa landscape, according to Greenomics, lies in the government-imposed peat moratorium map. Previously, this part was an expansion section of PT Kallista Alam before its permit was revoked by former Aceh governor Zaini Abdullah. 

Some of the remaining peat forests, which play host to the Sumatran orangutan, located in the PT Kallista Alam palm oil concession are shown in the photos below from the ground-check conducted by

The ground-based and spatial evidence indisputably proves that significant sections of the remaining forested peatlands in the Tripa landscape lie in the two palm oil concessions, with the biggest portion in the PT SPS-2 concession.

Minister’s moves

In October last year, as also reported by, Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya pointed out that her law enforcement team was continuing to work in the process of executing a supreme court ruling on peat fires involving PT Kallista Alam.

Furthermore, the minister also confirmed that law enforcement measures had been taken against the company for the peat violations it committed from June to October last year. Following the minister’s statement, no further evidence of new peat forest clearing in the concession was seen.

The peat forests displayed in the photos below include those targeted for clearing by PT Kallista Alam but which remain in place thanks to the minister’s prompt and effective legal actions.

Relevant lessons learned for EU 

It’s very important for the EU to learn lessons from the fact that the Sumatran orangutan-inhabited peat forests in the Tripa peatland landscape remain largely intact.  

The EU also needs to see that the last remaining peat forests in the Tripa landscape - home to the densest population of Sumatran orangutans - are almost all found in the PT SPS-2 and PT Kallista Alam palm oil concessions.

The key lesson learned from this case which the EU needs to grasp is that collaborations with the Indonesian government to protect the last remaining forests in the Tripa landscape are still extremely effective.

The recently-adopted EU Delegated Act, which President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has expressed his disappointment in and objected to, will only serve to discourage the Indonesian government in its efforts to produce more new lessons, such as those from the Tripa peatland landscape.



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