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THESE ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM ACEH’S SPATIAL PLAN WORKSHOP

Banda Aceh - A Workshop on the Roadmap of Advocacy on Aceh's Spatial Plan organised by the Coalition on the Protection of Aceh Forest (KPHA) was closed last Friday,22/11/2013.

Banda
Aceh – A Workshop on the Roadmap of Advocacy on Aceh’s Spatial Plan
organised by the Coalition on the Protection of Aceh Forest (KPHA) was
closed last Friday,22/11/2013.

The two-day event (20 to 21 Nov) was attended by representatives of Mukim Association, NGOs, UKP4, donor institutions and academicians. The workshop event was intended to criticize and to advocate the Draft Provincial Law (Qanun) on Aceh’s Spatial Plan, which will be approved by the Parliament of Aceh by the end of this year. The workshop has resulted following recommendations:

1. That spatial plan of Aceh does not yet balance the ecological, economical and social interests, therefore the needs for inclusion of articles in the draft law in terms of adjusting economic activities within ecological areas for not to disturb the areas protection functions; to evaluate companies abandoning their existing concessions; to add point e at the end of Paragraph 2 of the Article 47 with “Leuser Ecosystem as National Strategic Area” (in conjunction
with other Articles related to Leuser Ecosystem); to include Ulu Masen into Aceh Provincial Strategic Area (preparation for carbon stock); to include spatial plan of the area of mukim; to include wildlife corridor; to establish a special team to evaluate the development of economic zones that consider the environmental aspects;

2. Considering Water Catchment Areas, some steps are to be taken: to give directions in the management of water catchment areas based on the principles of local knowledge; reforestation;

3. Recommendations in the aspects of natural disaster, consisting of: data crosscheck with institutions holding disaster data such as soil sensitivity maps, wild life conflict and wildlife corridors; comprehensive review of the aspects of natural disaster of Aceh’s spatial plan;

4. Concerning disharmony at national, provincial and district levels, following ssteps are recommended: academic studies on the harmonisation of the existing regulations at both central and provincial levels focusing in those related to Aceh’s spatial plan, including considerate studies and profound studies.

Recommendations resulted from this workshop will be submitted to the provincial government and the Parliament of Aceh that are now “cooking” the spatial plan.

Meanwhile, Frans Siahaan from Asia Foundation addressed in his closing speech that until now this institution has no special program for Aceh. “We have yet no program for Aceh. But all that achieved together today can hopefully accepted as our starting commitment”.

As for the speaker of KPHA, Efendi Isma, hoped that the recommendations resulted by the workshop participants can be useful for Aceh. “I will keep everyone updated. Thank you for the participation in these two days, hopefully this can become useful for Aceh,” concluded Efendi Isma. (Arunda) RTRWA

Indonesia: Forestry Failures Jeopardize ‘Green Growth’

Region’s Smog Shows Need for Better Oversight; More Than US$7 Billion Lost
July 16, 2013  Human Rights Watch
(Jakarta) – Government corruption and mismanagement plague Indonesia’s forestry sector, with serious consequences for human rights and the environment, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The smog roiling Indonesia and its neighbors is partly a result of Indonesia’s ‘green growth’ strategy, which involves clearing forests for the rapid expansion of oil palm and pulp plantations.

The 61-page report, “The Dark Side of Green Growth: Human Rights Impacts of Weak Governance in Indonesia’s Forestry Sector,” finds that illegal logging and forest-sector mismanagement resulted in losses to the Indonesian government of more than US$7 billion between 2007 and 2011. Indonesia recently introduced reforms to address some of these concerns and has been touting its forestry policies as a model of sustainable ‘green growth.’ But much logging in Indonesia remains off-the-books, fees are set artificially low, and existing laws and regulations are often flaunted. A “zero burning” policy and a moratorium on forest clearing are manifestly inadequate.

“The return of the smog is only the most tangible evidence of the damage from Indonesia’s continuing failure to effectively manage its forests,” said Joe Saunders, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch. “Weak law enforcement, mismanagement, and corruption are to blame not only for the smog but also for the loss of billions of dollars a year in desperately needed public funds.”

The persistent failures have global implications. The smog causing so much suffering for Indonesia’s neighbors is produced by clearing forests for agriculture, a practice so widespread that it makes Indonesia’s carbon emissions among the largest in the world. The Obama administration announced on June 26, 2013, that it would invest more in sustainable forestry overseas as a way to combat climate change. However, without improvements in governance in Indonesia, greater investments by the international community may not bring significant change in the status quo.

The Indonesian government recently introduced reforms in part aimed at addressing forest mismanagement and corruption, including a timber legality certification system and a freedom of information law, but such efforts have fallen far short of their aims. The new report, an update to the 2009 Human Rights Watch report “Wild Money,” analyzes industry and government data, concluding that the pace of revenue loss has actually increased in recent years. In 2011 alone, the losses totaled more than $2 billion – more than the country’s entire health budget for that year, undermining the government’s ability to provide basic services to its population, Human Rights Watch said.

It is not only during the dry season that Indonesians suffer the negative consequences of forest mismanagement. The significant loss of revenues contributes to the government’s disappointing progress on a number of human rights concerns, notably those related to rural health care.

Indonesia’s forest communities, among the country’s poorest groups, have been harmed the most under the current system. Many of these communities have constitutionally recognized rights to use the land and forests or be adequately compensated for their loss. But the new legality certification system does not address whether timber is harvested in violation of community rights to forest lands.

Increasing demand for land to expand plantations appears to be leading to more violent land conflicts, Human Rights Watch said. The problem is especially acute on the island of Sumatra, where the majority of pulp and oil palm plantations – and most of this year’s fire hotspots – are located, often on land claimed by local communities. The government’s failure to comply with its own regulations for issuing concessions on forest land claimed by communities and its failure to hold companies accountable for violating legally required compensation agreements have led to an escalation in disputes. For example, in 2011, the escalation of long standing land disputes associated with an oil palm plantation in the Mesuji sub-district of South Sumatra led to violent clashes between local villagers and company security, leaving two local farmers and seven company staff dead.

In May the Constitutional Court ruled that the government’s practice of allocating concessions on customary land is unconstitutional, offering some hope to those communities. However, in the current climate of opaque, unaccountable forest governance, without adequate participation and oversight, identifying and registering rights to these lucrative forestlands could easily result in more, rather than fewer conflicts, Human Rights Watch said.

 

REDD+ Indonesia – Tripa a Catalyst for Change

Indonesia plans to use Rawa Tripa in its westernmost province of Aceh, where the country had a recent victory in peatlands protection, as learning grounds to improve forest governance and legal enforcement through license review.

This video gives description about the collaborative coordination between NGO’s, Local and Central Government efforts to reduce deforestation and forest which took swift actions.

Testing the Law: Video by EIA

Testing the Law: Report

A report highlighting the criminal activities of an oil palm plantation company operating in Kalimantan, Indonesia, and the failures of various levels of government to properly investigate and prosecute.

What happens to orangutans when the forest is taken away from them?

An article written by Dr. Ian Singleton, director of SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program) about the fate of Orangutan when their home range being taken away by companies

http://www.sumatranorangutan.org/webautor-data/56/What-happens_latest-compressed-latest-April-23-smaller.pdf

Truth and Consequences: An expose by Rainforest Action Network

TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES : Palm Oil Plantations Push Unique  Orangutan Population to Brink of Extinction

an expose by Rainforest Action Network

The dire situation in Tripa contradicts many commitments made by the Indonesian government and international agribusiness to break the link between deforestation and palm oil production. 

Download the full report here: Tripa Truth and Consequences. Report by RAN

Demand for survival

Tripa Peat Swamps and their Orangutans being cremated to annihilation:  Government of Indonesia must uphold law or face international shame

We, Walhi Indonesia, Greenpeace Indonesia, Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari, Sawit Watch Indonesia, the Coalition Team for Saving the Tripa Peat Swamps, are here today to demand the following:

  1. The immediate enforcement of laws protecting the Leuser Ecosystem, including the Tripa Peat Swamps, namely: The Spatial Planning Law (UU 26/2007) and subsequent Government Regulation (PP 26/2008) which establishes the Leuser Ecosystem as a National Strategic Area with an environmental protection function; and the Law of the Governance of Aceh (UU11/2006) which obligates the Government and the Government of Aceh to protect the Leuser Ecosystem.
  2. That the National Police immediately investigate the allegations made by local community members on the 23rd of November 2011 of the breaking of both the National Spatial Planning Law, and the Law on the Governance of Aceh, by the Governor of Aceh when he issued a new concession to PT Kallista Alam for an area within the Leuser Ecosystem, and that they also investigate the Aceh police force for its failure to investigate the case adequately, and their suspected collusion with the Governor and PT Kallista Alam.
  3. The immediate formation of a national-level credible investigation into the use of fire for land clearing by oil palm concessions in Tripa, the clearance and conversion of deep peat, the clearance of high conservation value forest,  and the complete lack of any provision for the protection of wildlife species in Tripa that are themselves legally-protected under Indonesian Law.
  4. An immediate investigation by UKP4 into the practices involved in the November 2011, revision of the Indicative Map of Primary Forests and Peatlands, in particular the case of the mysterious withdrawal of the area covered by the new PT Kallista Alam concession issued by the Governor of Aceh on 25th August 2011, from the earlier version of the map despite its being issued after the moratorium was declared.
  5. That the Government IMMEDIATELY order oil palm companies with concessions within the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem to completely cease ALL land clearing and burning activities pending the outcomes of the above enquiries.
  6. That the Government of Norway immediately suspend the bilateral Letter of Intent of May 27th 2010, and any payments of the US$1 billion promised in the LOI, until the Government of Indonesia has thoroughly investigated the alleged contraventions of Indonesian law by National, Provincial and District Government officials, the Aceh Police force, and Oil Palm Concession holders in the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem, and demonstrated its total commitment to the supremacy of the law and its international obligations.
  7. That the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) immediately suspend Aceh from its membership, until the Aceh Government has demonstrated its commitment to upholding the Laws of Aceh and Indonesia, and the goals and agenda of the GCF.
  8. That the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) who in 2006 endorsed the resolution “Palm Oil Cultivation according to RSPO Criteria and Principles on FallowLand in the Context of Relocating Palm-Oil Concessions Threatening HCVF”, and in 2008 the resolution “The primary rainforests of Tripa, peat swamp forests of exceptional high conservationvalue, are presently being destroyed for palm oil plantations”, thereby agreeing to engage with the palm oil companies destroying Tripa to achieve a solution, to immediately contact the head of the Indonesian palm oil association (GAPKI) and urge him to bring sanctions against oil palm concessionaires within the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem that are breaking mandatory ISPO standards.
  9. We also request all supporters of good environmental governance and biodiversity conservation, in Indonesia and around the world, to sign an electronic petition to save the Tripa Peat Swamps at endoftheicons.wordpress.com  and/or contacting their local legislature, or nearest Indonesian legislation to express their disgust at the blatant environmental and social crimes that are being perpetrated by oil palm concessions in the Tripa peat swamps within the Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area. (More information is also available at the “Save the Tripa Peat Swamps”: please click “like”).

An Emergency Report prepared for the Coalition to Save Tripa and Partners

Current Status of Tripa Peat Swamp Destruction and Fires

An Emergency Report prepared for the Coalition to Save Tripa and Partners

by

Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari, Medan, Sumatera Utara

27 March 2012

 

Summary of Issues and Findings

The pace of destruction of the Tripa peat swamps in Aceh has escalated dramatically in the last few weeks, possibly as the companies take advantage of Aceh’s status as having an “interim’ Governor.  We are extremely alarmed that if the current pace of destruction is allowed to continue, there will be no HCVF forest and no more Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan, or any other protected wildlife, in Tripa by the end of 2012.

The loss of Tripa’s remaining HCVF forests will also result in dire long term environmental consequences for the region’s human population, with ever increasing incidences of serious flooding and drought due the complete loss of critical hydrological and other ecosystem functions previously provided by the peat swamps.

Satellite imagery from December 26th, 2011, clearly shows less than 13,000 ha of Tripa’s former 60,000 ha of forest remained at that time. Moreover, much of the forest was already highly fragmented, with the largest remaining block measuring less than 8,400 ha, and only one other remaining block covering more than 1,000 ha. Since then, more recent land clearing for oil palm and the widespread use of fire has reduced the forest cover even further.

From 2009 to 2011 over 5,000 ha of peat swamp forest was completely destroyed. This means that circa 100 Sumatran orangutans also perished, either killed directly in the conversion process or currently dying long lingering deaths due to starvation and malnutrition. A few “lucky” survivors of this process are probably also still being kept as illegal pets in the vicinity and several have already been confiscated by the authorities.

Right now the forest is being destroyed even faster. Between the 20th and 24thof March this year, just 5 days, there were no less than 87 fire hotspots, meaning major fires detectable by satellite, in 3 of Tripa’s oil palm concessions; PT SPS2, (formerly PT Astra Agro Lestari), PT Kallista Alam (a company currently on trial for legal infringements), and PT Dua Perkasa Alam. Such a high number of hotspots in so short a time (5 days) represents the highest intensity of fire hotspots recorded in a 5-day period in Tripa since satellite monitoring of Indonesia’s fire hot spots began in late 2000,  higher even than the infamous fires in the PT Kallista Alam concession in 2009. The overall area of land devastated so far by these latest fires alone is at least 2,800 ha.

What is more, by far the majority of these hotspots occurred on the deepest peat within Tripa, where numerous peat depth measurements have recorded well over 5 metres.

The number of Sumatran orangutans, Sumatran tigers, Malayan sun bears and other endangered and protected wildlife, many of which are peat swamp specialist species found in no other habitat type, that have perished in these fires is immeasurable. Nevertheless, based on knowledge of orangutan densities in Tripa and other peat swamp areas on the west coast of Aceh, it is estimated that the number killed in recent months must be at least approaching 100, if not even more.

With the continued encroachment and draining of the remaining forests, we are now in a situation where a prolonged dry period and further indiscriminate burning could easily spread quickly through the whole of Tripa’s remaining forest in just a matter of weeks, or even days, completely eliminating the remaining wildlife, including the last couple of hundred orangutans.

The use of fire for land clearing of peatlands is quite clearly illegal in Indonesia, and the concession owners, the companies themselves, are legally accountable for all such occurrences within their concession areas. However, to date, not one single prosecution as ever been brought against any of the oil palm concessions in Tripa, despite the fact that 707 fire hot spots have been recorded by satellite in these concessions since 2001.

Unless action is IMMEDIATELY taken to uphold the numerous national laws that: protect the Leuser Ecosystem; protect deep peatlands from destruction; forbid the use of fire for land clearing; and  protect Indonesia’s endangered species, Indonesia’s international promises to reduce its carbon emissions from primary forest and peat land degradation and destruction (REDD) will be confirmed as utterly worthless, bringing international trust in forest and peatland governance within Indonesia to an all-time ‘embarrassing’ low.

 RECENT DATA ANALYSES

Recent Deforestation in Tripa Peat Swamps

The most recent publicly accessible cloud-free image of the Tripa peat swamps is a Landsat 7 image from December 26th 2011 (less than 3 months ago; figure 1). This shows that only 12,267 ha of Tripa’s original 60,000 ha of forest cover remains, and that much of what does remain is already fragmented and degraded, by the continual draining of the swamps in surrounding areas.

Comparing the above image with satellite imagery from 2009, nearly 5,100 ha of peat land forest have been lost in just 2 years, virtually all of it destroyed by oil palm companies. Today, the largest single block of contiguous forest is only 8,359 ha, with only one other fragment over 1,000 ha.

Any Sumatran orangutans trapped in the few remaining small fragments of forest are now effectively refugees, of forest that no longer exists, but are nevertheless also doomed to die a lingering death from to starvation, if they are not killed or captured beforehand. It is now almost certain that less than 200 of Tripa’s former several thousand orangutans are surviving in Tripa, and given the current pace of destruction even their plight is now in immediate jeopardy. It is now extremely likely, unless something can be implemented IMMEDIATELY to halt this tragedy, the surviving orangutan population in the Tripa peat swamps, one of a number of UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Partnerships’ global priority sites for Great Ape Conservation, will finally be exterminated before the end of 2012. It will have taken just 22 years to exterminate since the first oil palm concession in Tripa was granted to PT Cemerlang Abadi in 1990.

Figure 1: Remaining areas of the forest, forest lost between 2009 and Dec. 2011, the Leuser Ecosytem, and oilpalm concessions plotted on Landsat 7 image (26/12/2011)

Latest Fire Data

On March 20th this year the local communities in Tripa and air travellers over the region began frantically reporting many extremely large and ‘out of control’ fires in Tripa. The following provides a summary of the data from ground level, from the air, and from satellite fire hotspot data. Figure 2 shows the location of fire hotspots between the 19thand 25thof March 2011, detected by the MODIS Aqua and Terra satellites. A total of 92 fire hotspots were recorded in several of the oil palm concessions between March 19th and 25th, as shown in the following two tables:

Concession

No of fires

Date

No of fires

PT Cemerlang Abadi

2

19/3

2

PT Dua Perkasa Lestari

9

20/3

4

PT Kallista Alam (new)

8

21/3

16

PT Surya Panen Subur 2

72

22/3

24

none

1

23/3

12

Grand Total

92

24/3

31

25/3

3

Grand Total

92

Clearly, most fires were recorded on the 24th of March, but based on field reports these fires were all on-going  on the 25th March as well, but were probably undetected by the satellites due to heavy cloud cover. By far the bulk of the fire hotspots were in the PT Surya Panen Subur 2 concession (formerly belonging to PT Astra Agro Lestari).  PT Surya Panen Subur 2 not only has the largest number and greatest spread of fires, but the area of the fires is also one of the deepest peat areas in the whole of the Tripa peat swamps, estimated to have an average depth of over 4 m (see peat depth sampling points on map).

Ironically, all the fire hotspots shown are within the Leuser Ecosystem, since 2008 a National Strategic Area for Environmental Protection[1].

Interim burn scars were measured for the 2 main concentrations of hotspots. The larger burn scar (2,454 ha) lies primarily in the PT Surya Panen Subur 2 concession, while the smaller burn scar (408 ha) is primarily within the PT Dua Perkasa Lestari concession. Six outlying hotspots were excluded from the generation of the burn scars. The total final burn scar from these fires can only really be determined when all the fires have been extinguished, and remote sensing data can be cross-checked in the field.

Figure 2: Fire hotspots recorded between 19/3 and 25/3/2012 and projected burn scars, plotted on the remaining peat land forest and oil palm concessions in Tripa. Also shown are peat  depth sampling points.

Historical Fire Hotspot Data

All recorded fire hotspots in the Tripa region since 2001 are shown in Figure 3. It is clear that the bulk of the hotspots are clumped into a few particular areas, although the recent fires represent the widest spread of simultaneous fires yet seen.

Figure 3: All fires spots recorded in the Tripa region between 2001 and March 26th, 2012.

Fire hotspot data collected since the satellites became operational in late 2000 (see table below), clearly show that 2009 was by far the worst year for fires in the Tripa peatlands. However, particularly alarming is that after just 3 months, 2012 is already ranked number two in the annual tally, with 111 fires recorded already.

Fire Hotspots in Oil Palm Concessions, 2001 to March 26, 2012

Year

none

ex PT PGSA

 Cemerlang Abadi

Dua Perkasa Lestari

Gelora Sawita Makmur

Kallista Alam

Kallista Alam (new)

Surya Panen Subur 2

Grand Total

% total

2001

1

7

9

2

2

21

3.0%

2002

3

10

2

15

2.1%

2003

1

1

0.1%

2004

3

1

2

6

0.8%

2005

1

2

2

5

0.7%

2006

3

8

11

2

24

3.4%

2007

2

3

4

1

10

1.4%

2008

6

9

15

2

13

19

11

75

10.6%

2009

25

95

51

9

9

117

16

322

45.5%

2010

8

2

1

20

4

1

36

5.1%

2011

5

17

6

22

5

13

2

11

81

11.5%

2012

2

4

10

1

8

86

111

15.7%

Grand Total

52

130

81

44

56

196

16

132

707

100.0%

% total

7.4%

18.4%

11.5%

6.2%

7.9%

27.7%

2.3%

18.7%

100.0%

Historically, PT Kallista Alam has the worst record of all the oil palm concessionaires, with nearly 28% of all Tripa’s fire hotspots recorded within their concession, and a peak of 117 fires in 2009. Until this year there were relatively few fires recorded in the PT Surya Panen Subur 2 concession, suggesting a deliberate policy by the company for rapid expansion of conversion at the expense of the remaining peatland forests. The third highest number of fires are in the ex PT Patriot Guna Sakti Abadi (PT PGSA) in Aceh Barat Daya. This concession was never actually formalized, and after the Aceh peace agreement was parcelled out by the local government, purportedly to ex-combatants. It is understood that many of the small parcels have since been bought and consolidated into larger blocks by local government officials and business people.

Carbon Emissions

Based on the burn scars and existing data on the carbon content of the peat and forests in Tripa it is possible to  estimates the carbon emissions from these last 5 days of fires, and their potential monetary value. In order to ensure estimates were conservative (i.e. minimum estimates) calculations were based on the following assumptions:-

  • The above ground carbon content of the felled forest areas used for calculations was just 50 t C/ha, less than half the lowest recorded value for the Tripa peat swamp forests (109 t C/ha).
  • A burned peat depth of only 5cm (representing just 20 t C/ha), whilst the depth of peat actually burned in fires is probably much greater.

Given the highly conservative values used, and the size of the burn scars, the total amount of carbon lost in just the last several days is considered to be well in excess of 200,000 tonnes, which if valued at US$10 per tonne, represents a loss of over US$ 2 million. Of this loss, over US$1.7 occurred primarily in the PT Surya Panen Subur 2 concession, and nearly US$300,000 primarily in the PT Dua Perkasa Lestari concession.

We propose that these figures ought to represent the minimum fines that should be levied on these companies for this illegal burning of peat land.

Total Carbon Emissions (t)

Value of Carbon Emissions (US$)

PT SPS 2 PT DPL Total PT SPS 2 PT DPL Total
Carbon t/ha (2454 ha) (408 ha) (2862 ha) (2454 ha) (408 ha) (2862 ha)
Above ground 50 122,700 20,400 143,100 1,227,000 204,000 1,431,000
Below ground (5cm) 20 49,080 8,160 57,240 490,800 81,600 572,400
Total 70 171,780 28,560 200,340 1,717,800 285,600 2,003,400

[1] As listed in Appendix X of Government Regulation No.26/2008 on the National Spatial Plan (PP 26/2008 tentang Tata Ruang Nasional, Lampiran X)

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