Pulp, Oil Palm Producers Disregarding Peatland Restoration

Thursday, 27 April 2017 , 09:00:00 WIB - Social

Firefighters, assisted by local villagers, are seen putting out fire on peatland forest in Pekanbaru, Riau, Monday (3/4). (ANTARA)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS – Exploiters operating on Industrial Planation Forest (HTI) concessions and oil palm cultivators have been showing very low commitment to preserve and restore the peatland where they are producing their commodity.

Indonesia Forum for the Environment (WALHI)-Riau Executive Director, Riko Kurniawan, said it is time for them to stop acting greedily and focus on restoring their peatland, bearing in mind the ecological, social and economic loss being suffered by the nation.

"Their resistance (to comply) shows that the industrial forestry and plantation businesses have been acting counterproductively in regards to restoring and managing the environment, especially in protecting forests and peatlands," said Riko in a press release, to gres.news (26/4).

The Minister for the Environment and Forestry Affairs Regulation No.17/2017 on Management and Protection of Peatlands firmly states that damaged peatlands must be restored.

Riko clams such companies are only giving lip services when they reiterate their commitment to preserve industrial forests. In the field, they have always been protesting regulations that aims at protecting forests and peatlands.

"Yet, this (the issues addressed by the regulations) are roots of the frequent smog disasters and major environment damages, which have been causing losses in many aspects.

Pulp and oil palm producers frequently complain through the media about the lack of land because of the Minister for the Environment and Forestry Affairs Regulation No.17/2017, which protects peatland ecosystem and Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI) concessions by forbidding companies to cultivate on the land.

"They should support (the regulation) and throw away the old paradigm of running a business without regarding the aspects of environment and conservation," he said.

Meanwhile, the Eyes on the Forests (EoF) Coalition said the issue spread that paper and pulp producers plan to reduce workers is merely an old strategy that the producers implemented during the government’s action against plantations on HTI concessions that were damaging the environment in 2007-2008.

RESTORATION TARGET – In a closed meeting held to evaluate implementation of the regulation on peatland and the performance o the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), at the State Palace, Wednesday (26/4) President Joko Widodo said the government will continue its effort to restore peatlands through regulations and field actions.

The BRG has been given a target to restore 2,000,000 hectares of peatland across the provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatera, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Papua by 2020.

He emphasized the importance of support from ministries, institutions, regional governments, local villagers and concession holders.

"Tey must help preseve the peatland ecosystem by adopting the principles of sustainable peatland management," ujarnya,seperti dikutip setkab.go.id.