February 25, 2019

Peat violations ongoing in absence of law enforcement 

JAKARTA ( - The Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry is still not taking law enforcement action against ongoing peat violations being committed in palm oil and pulpwood concessions in the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

The continuing lack of law enforcement with regard to these ongoing peat violations in palm oil and pulpwood concessions should serve as a new lesson learned in Indonesia’s improved peat governance efforts.

Three concessions implicated

PT TBLA Tbk, an RSPO member which supplies palm oil to major global brands, continues to demonstrate its power by draining the peat ecosystem in its concessions in South Sumatra’s OKI regency. This practice constitutes a clear peat violation. 

The ineffectiveness of the RSPO’s new standard, the lack of impact from the implementation of the NDPE policies adopted by major brands and palm oil traders, as well as the complete absence of law enforcement encapsulate what is happening in the TBLA concessions.    

The Planet Explorer images below demonstrate the ongoing draining of the peat ecosystem by the TBLA operation in question (PT DGS), providing an important lesson learned concerning the weakness of the RSPO’s new standard, corporate NDPE policies, and law enforcement. 

Besides TBLA, Mulia Sawit Agro Lestari (MSAL) is also still committing peat violations unabated by clearing and draining a peat forest ecosystem that is home to the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan.  

NDPE policies have proven unable to stop the destruction of the Bornean orangutan’s habitat in the MSAL concession. What’s more, a number of RSPO and TFT/Earthworm members remain linked to palm oil produced by MSAL. 

The following Planet Explorer images illustrate how MSAL’s operations (PT PEAK) in Central Kalimantan’s Katingan regency, which are going ahead under the pretense of business reasons, are still engaged in peat violations. Making matters worse, law enforcement in this case is nonexistent.

In addition to the two cases detailed above, PT SAE (the Saraswanti group) is also still perpetrating peat violations by continuing to clear and drain the Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests in its concession.

There are also several RSPO and TFT/Earthworm members with ties to Saraswanti palm oil. Furthermore, just like in the previously mentioned cases, law enforcement against the persistent peat violations in this concession is conspicuous by its absence. 

The Planet Explorer images below portray a stark lack of law enforcement to prevent the relentless peat violations taking place in the Saraswanti palm oil concession which lies in West Kalimantan’s Landak regency.

Another concession escapes action 

Even though the ministry’s law enforcement team conducted a ground-check in early October last year, evidence indicates that the peat forests covering one of APP’s pulpwood concessions are still being subjected to illegal clearing to make way for new palm oil plantations.

The following Planet Explorer images depict the illegal peat forest clearing in the APP concession concerned (PT KSP) in West Kalimantan’s Kubu Raya regency. The removal of these forests did not end after the field inspection performed by the ministry.

In fact, the ministry failed to follow up its ground-check with any law enforcement action, thus enabling the unending illegal draining of peat forests inhabited by the Bornean orangutan. APP, it is worth mentioning, is also a member of TFT/Earthworm

The absence of law enforcement action to deal with ongoing peat violations in palm and pulpwood concessions represents an important lesson learned by showing how such an absence is counterproductive to improving peat governance di Indonesia.

The law enforcement inaction has also had a devastating effect on Bornean orangutan-inhabited peat forests which have been destroyed by constant clearing and draining operations in the palm oil and pulpwood concessions concerned.



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