Archive | May 2012

Leuser, the Sumatran orangutan shot 62 times – in pictures | Guardian UK

A moving story of an orangutan who was rescued from being sold as a gift, reintroduced to the wild only to be captured again by villagers who shot him repeatedly for fun

– Photo essay by Paul Hilton

click here for the series of photos

Palm Oil Permits to be Revoked, says Forestry Minister

As publised in KOMPAS, Ministry of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan ensured on Wednesday (23/5) the withdrawal of the permit for 1,605 ha area in Leuser Ecosystem’s Tripa Peat Swamp, Aceh. Regional Heads are requested to be careful before issuing permit for land use conversion.

Palm Oil Permit To Be Revoked – Tripa Case Could Occur In Various Regions

JAKARTA, KOMPAS – Ministry of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan ensured on Wednesday (23/5) the withdrawal of the permit for 1,605 ha area in Leuser Ecosystem’s Tripa Peat Swamp, Aceh. Regional Heads are requested to be careful before issuing permit for land use conversion.

“I’ve met with the elected Aceh Governor, Zaini Abdullah and (Vice Governor) Muzakir Manaf. The permit will be withdrawn after inauguration,” said Zulkifli Hasan in Jakarta yesterday. The inauguration will be held on June 4, 2012.

In Banda Aceh, the elected Governor Zaini Abdullah said that he is ready to stop issuance of land clearing for plantation to companies proven to violate the law and to threat the sustainability of the forest. This is also to be charged to PT Kalista Alam in Nagan Raya’s Tripa Peat Swamp.

“The Presidential Instruction is clear that it (Tripa Peat Swam) is within the Leuser Ecosystem, a forest area with protecting function. Presidential Instruction stated it has to be stop. In the future, we will pay attention, we will stop permits that are not in compliance with the Presidential Instruction,” said Zaini.

The case started as Aceh Governor (Irwandi Yusuf) issue a permit to PT Kalista Alam in August 2011 to utilise 1,605 ha for oil palm plantation. This policy has been condemned by various parties since it was issued while Indonesia is in terms of applying moratorium of new permits within forest and peatland areas.

The Tripa Peat Swamp is categorized to solid peat areas rich with its biodiversity and part of Leuser Ecosystem.

The case reached the Development Supervision and Control Division of the Presidential Working Unit (UKP4), which then recommended an investigation. The result, indication of deliberate clearing by burning as well as destruction of peat ecosystem has been identified.

According to Zulkifli, the 1,605 ha has the status of area for other purpose, means that the authority of its utilisation is under the Regional Government, not the Ministry of Forestry.

Therefore, he requested the Regional Heads to be careful with the issuance of permits within protected areas. “Back in 2009 I used to simply signed (permits) because I did not understand.  Now, cross check with the map first, is it within the moratorium areas or not,” he said.


Deddy Ratih of WALHI said that the 1,605 ha is only a small piece amongst other plantation on eatlands of Leuser Ecosystem. He urge to review the permits.

Heru Prasetyo, 1st Deputi of the UKP4, said that the chaos of permits such as the one in Tripa Peat Swamp can occur in various regions. He call to civil society for being more active in controlling and in observing forests and peatlands.

The momentum of the permits moratorium is expected to be the arena for the improvement of resources management in Indonesia. “The President himself requested to monitor the implementation of the moratorium,” said Heru.

Government Applies Triple Track to Stop Permit on Tripa Peat Swamp | Berita Satu

Government Applies Triple Track to Stop Permit on Tripa Peat Swamp

The Government has filed lawsuit, both civil law and criminal law, based on the indication of violently issued permit on Aceh’s Tripa Peat Swamp.

“For the case in Tripa, we apply triple track, which includes criminal law suit currently being in the phase of investigation referring to the Law 32/2009 on the Environmental Protection and Management related to the clearing by burning, the Law on Plantation related to the unpermissive activities. Thirdly, civil investigator of forestry using the Law No. 5/1990 on Conservation in the connection with orangutan habitat,” said the Head of the Law Enforcement Working Group of the Task Force REDD+, Mas Achmad Santosa on Monday (21/5) in Jakarta.

The second track, continued Mas Achmad, who is also the Director of Law Enforcement of UKP4, is through civil lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Environment related to forest rehabilitation.

“There is ecosystem damages resulting in public indemnity, which will be pursuit by the Ministry of Environment referring to the Law No. 32/2009 that has standing rights. The third track, we will file administrative lawsuit, since a violation has been identified, while the issuing authority is requested to withdraw the permit. This is an ultimate remedy to conduct revocation of license,” said Mas Ahmad.

The case of Tripa Peat Swamp emerged based on NGOs report in November 2011 as they presumed that the Government of Aceh has deliberately issued exploration permit for 1,605 peat swamp area in Tripa, which is part of Leuser Ecosystem.

A look at the moratorium map of the Ministry of Forestry, it is visible that they (remarks: Government of Aceh) issued the permit oto PT Kalista Alam.

Based on field findings of the Task Force REDD+, the area has been cleared by burning prior to the issuance of the permit and planted with oil palm.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the Head of the Task Force REDD+, said that mengatakan Tripa Peat Swamp is already re-include in the moratorium map, means that no permit can be issued.

“The primary is that all activities have to be ceased. The status (of Tripa Peat Swamp) has been determined as a non-convertible status. As for law enforcement and rehabilitation, it will be the next step. For now, the permit is revoked,” said Kuntoro adding that there will be no land swap for PT Kalista Alam.

Written by: Fidelis E Satriastanti/ Kristantyo Wisnubroto

The Case of Tripa Peat Swamp: Peat Rehabilitation Is the Responsibility of the Company | KOMPAS

as published in KOMPAS, 23 May 2012

Jakarta, KOMPAS – Restoration of Tripa Peat Swamp Forest within the Aceh’s Leuser Ecosystem, which is damaged through clearing by burning, is the responsibility of the company operating in the area. The damage is currently being calculated by the Ministry of Environment and experts from Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB).
“The result from the lab is estimated to be finalised,” said Basuki Wasuki from the Lab of Forest Influence of the forest ecology of IPB, Tuesday (22/5) in Jakarta.
Together with Hero Suharjo (Dean of the Faculty of Forestry and Head of the Lab for Forest Fire and Agriculural Land), he (remarks: Basuki) was requested by the Ministry of Environment to join the analysis of the case of Tripa Peat Swamp.
Basuki explained that he took some samples several weeks ago from and conducted observation in Tripa. He concluded that peat fires of more than 500 ha occurred for the purpose of oil palm plantation.
Visual observation was then continued with lab analysis to support legal evidence and environmental damage calculation.
Through lab analysis, the rate of peat dryness, loss of flora and fauna as well as other damage can by concluded. The reference for the calculation is the Regulation of the Minister of Environment No. 13/2011 on the Financial Indemnity for Damage caused by Pollution and/or Environmental Destruction.
Details of the value are the indemnity for damage caused by unfulfilled responsibility, indemnity to verification and environmental observation cost(survey and lab), indemnity to rehabilitation cost and environmental damage.
Deputy of Environmental Planning, Sudariyono, explained that the cost and the effort for the rehabilitation of Tripa Peat Swamp, according to the laws, are the responsibility of the company or of the company’s individual. This is based on the Article 116 and 108 of the Law No. 32/2009 on the Protection and Management of the Environment.
“The risk for the perpetrator of environmental destruction is the deprivation of profits and withdrawal of the concession permit as well as cessation of palm oil activities.
Besides indemnity to the environmental damage and recovery cost, crime lawsuit is also to be filed. Last Tuesday, two persons, each representing one company, have been interrogated by civil investigator.

Hearing of Witnesses | KOMPAS


KOMPAS/MOHAMAD BURHANUDIN Stumps spread within thousands of ha of Tripa Peat Swamp area turned into charcoal caused by clearing by burning for oil palm plantation in the village of Pulo Kruet, Sub district of Darul Makmur in Aceh’s Nagan Raya District.

JAKARTA, KOMPAS – Civil investigator from the Ministry of Environment on Tuesday (22/05) afternoon started hearing of witnesses of the burning of Leuser Ecosystem’s Tripa Peat Swamp in Aceh’s Nagan Raya District. The witnesses are from the management of PT Kalista Alam and PT Surya Panen Subur 2.

“This hearing is the follow-up on the onsite investigation conducted several times ago. Two witnesses from the companies attended the hearing. Next week we are going to invite witnesses from the local government, such as from the District Office of Forestry, Agriculture and other related offices,” said Deputy of Environmental Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment, Sudariyono, in Jakarta.

While in Nagan Raya, the team has interview the witnesses from local community, filed to strengthen the findings of the investigator.

Sudariyono put forward that the investigator team has found that area of Tripa Peat Swamp was cleared by burning for oil palm plantation. The burning violates the Article 108 of the Law No. 32/2009 on the Environmental Protection and Management, charge with the minimum of 3 years up to 10 years in prison and fined with the minimum of IDR 3 billion up to 10 billion.

Besides the criminal aspect, the investigator also applied civil rights, as there is environmental destruction caused by the fire resulting in state loss. “The indemnity is still being calculated. The civil process is in parallel to the criminal lawsuit,” said Sudariyono.

The case emerged after WALHI and several others NGOs in Aceh filed a lawsuit against the Governor of Aceh based on the issuance of a permit for 1,605 ha within the area of LEuser Ecosystem. The Administrative Court in Banda Aceh rejected to make a verdict.

The awkwardness of the permit issuance alerted the Development Supervision and Control Division of the Presidential Working Unit (UKP4).

Meanwhile, the Director of PT Surya Panen Subur, Eddy Sutjahyo Busiri, said that his company did not set the fire, but was a victim of the fire set by the neighbouring plantation. “We reported directly to the police and local environmentalists to witness the fire themselves,” he said

Indonesia peatland back on protected list in test case | Reuters

May 21 (Reuters) – Indonesia‘s government said on Monday it would protect a strip of peatland in Aceh province at the centre of an international storm over palm oil development, in a case that had become a test of the country’s commitment to halt deforestation.

Indonesia imposed a two-year moratorium on clearing forest last May under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, but the former governor of the country’s westernmost Aceh province breached the ban by issuing a permit to a palm oil firm to develop the peatland.

This prompted legal action from environmental groups and probes by the police and several government bodies.

The resulting preliminary investigation showed that the permit was issued to palm oil firm Kallista Alam without following proper procedures, a government official said.

The forest, home to endangered orangutans, was partly cleared by burning, even before the permit was issued, said Mas Achmad Santosa, an official at the presidency.

“The case of Kallista Alam in Aceh is the typical problem we are facing … some parts have been turned to palm oil plantations, some have been burned, and it turned out the permit does not exist,” said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, who is in charge of overseeing forestry sector reform.

He said the peatland would again be listed as a protected area.

Former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf issued the permit to open 1,605 hectares of land for palm oil in the Tripa peatland area in August last year.

Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil exporter and has seen rapid growth in production of the edible oil, used to make cooking oil and biscuits, in recent years.

(Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Jeremy Laurence)

Tripa Peat Swamp Re-Included in the Moratorium

as published in KOMPAS, 22 May 2012

Government Consistency Positively Welcomed by Civil Organisations

Jakarta, KOMPAS – Tripa Peat Swamp in the Aceh’s Nagan Raya District is re-included in the second revision of the moratorium map. The area of 1,605 ha of PT. Kalista Alam intended for oil palm plantation will be protected against any logging or peatland clearing activities.

Deputy of Law Enforcement  of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control (UKP4), Mas Achmad Santosa,  said on Monday (21/5) in Jakarta that all company’s activities within the 1,605 ha area had to be halted. “Besides that, we also proceed with legal lawsuit,” he said.

He explained the currently investigated legal case in details, which is the indication of violation of the Law No. 32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management in regards to the clearing by burning activity. Then, violation of the Law No. 18/2004 on Plantation, being operating without permit. Violation of the Law No. 5/1990 on Conservation of Biodiversity and its Ecosystem, since the company operates within the Leuser Ecosystem. For information, the Joint Investigators of the Ministry of Environment, the Attorney General and the State Police are now conducting the hearing of witnesses, including those from the company.

Besides criminal lawsuit, the UKP4 recommended that the Ministry of Environment, on behalf of the state, prosecutes the company to pay the damage caused by the destruction of the local ecosystem. The damage is currently being calculated by the Ministry of Environment.

Being asked about possible applied sanctions, the Head of UKP4, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, said that the probability of corruption and state administration delicts would be traced back. “This is still being elaborated. To be cleared, guilty official can be administratively punished and corruption will face criminal charges,” he said.

Positively welcome

Separately, the Executive Director of Greenomics, Elfian Effendi, praised UKP4 for being consistent with the protection of Tripa Peat Swamp against destructive threats caused by palm oil expansion. “The consistency has saved orangutan habitat and the protecting function of Tripa Peat Swamp,” he added.

The case started in August 2011 as the Aceh Governor serving during that time issued a plantation permit for PT Kalista Alam. Although, in May 2011, the particular area in the permit, the 1,605 ha, was included within the areas of the moratorium.

But, under the first revision of the moratorium in November 2011, this particular area was excluded. The permit issued by the Aceh Governor was then filed for administrative court by WALHI. The panel of judges rejected the case and WALHI appealed.

This issue has been smelled by the UKP4 that recommended comprehensive investigation on the case, including onsite investigation. The investigation identified the lack of concession permit and other violations, such as clearing by burning of the peat and expired license.


Press Release


Jakarta, May 21 – Consummation of the management of primary natural and peatland forest in accordance with the Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011, also known as Presidential Instruction on Moratorium, steadily and confidently leads to the achievement of its main goal, which is One Map that integrate the entire forest and peat areas in Indonesia. One year after the signing of the Presidential Instruction, “This moratorium is effective in terms of developing the One Map. This is an achievement of extra ordinary, regarding that, in the past, various government agencies used different maps referencing the issuance of different kinds of management permits,” said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Head of the Presidential Working Unit on Development Supervision and Control (UKP4), and Head of the Task Force REDD+ in front of journalists, Monday (21/5) in Jakarta.

Agencies mentioned by Kuntoro are the Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Land Agency, each of which has own map and various utilisation permits of peatlands and natural primary forests independently to each other. The result is overlapping licenses and chaotinc management that leads to serious land conflicts. “This is of course detrimental for the smoothness of economic and sustainable development in Indonesia,” conclude Kuntoro.

Enclosed to Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011 is an indicative moratorium map for new permits within Indonesian natural primary forests and peatlands determined by the Ministry of Forestry by the exclusion of various permits issued prior to the issuance of this Presidential Instruction. This moratorium map will be revised every 6 months to improve the accuracy of the map – resulting in addition or reduction of areas included in the moratorium – and strengthen the coordination between the Ministries of Forestry, Agriculture, the National Land Agency, the Agency for Geospatial Information and the Task Force REDD+.

“Alteration of the areas of moratorium under each revision, including the second revision, reflects the indicative characteristic of the map, in which refining and improvement of the quality of the data and spatial information occurred at any time related to the existence of natural primary forest areas, forest with protecting and preservation function as well as peatlands obtained from different parties including individual community members, companies and ministries/agencies,” Kuntoro continued.

For example, the second revision of the moratorium map exclude among others villages situated on mineral soil areas within peat areas in Central Kalimantan’s Kapuas District and, on the other side, re-include the areas of PT. Kalista Alam of 1,605 in Tripa Peat Swamp, Province of Aceh. Several issued concessions, but without possessing any permits of the release of forest areas (remarks: for the purpose of the concessions), were re-included in the moratorium for the permits to be further analysed as a part of the improvement of the management and utilisation of forest areas.

Overall, addition of areas of 379 ,000 ha resulting from the addition of 862,000 ha and the reduction of 482,000 ha. The end product in this second revision is a total moratorium area of 65,753,810 ha.

Parallel to the improvement process of the moratorium map, the government also reorganise the registration system of permits in forest and peat areas. To achieve this, the government is in the process of developing a database for the permits.

“An accountable and transparent process of permit issuance is a very important foundation for the development of a wise and sustainable utilisation of land and forest areas. Within the validity period of this Presidential Instruction on Moratorium, we’ll fix the licensing process through the establishment of an integrated system,” said Kuntoro.

Besides, an Integrated Team for law enforcement has been established by the Task Force REDD+ involving the Attorney General, the National Police and the Ministry of Forestry, which assignment is to ensure consistent law enforcement against encroachers (especially of primary and peat forest). The recent assignment of the Integrated Team is the case of alleged violation in Tripa Peat Swamp manifested through the harmonic and intensive collaboration of the Ministries of Environment and Forestry, and the National Police. Several cases in agriculture and mining in other regions are currently in the process of intensive investigation.

The government is committed to establish a transparent, inclusive and accountable process in the management of peat and forest. Therefore, all stakeholders are invited to give inputs in the process of the revision of moratorium map through different provided media, such as normal letters, SMS or through the internet. “During each reported moratorium map, the public can directly conduct track changes and send us inquiries if there is any errors,” explained Kuntoro.

To increase responsiveness, the Task Force REDD+ will launch a Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) for the handling of public complaints related to the moratorium map.


For further information:

Head of the Working Group for Communication and Stakeholders Involvement

Chandra Kirana


Siaran Pers dalam bahasa Indonesia dapat diunduh disini Press Release – Setahun Moratorium IND FINAL

Forestry Moratorium: Government Prepared Second Revision | KOMPAS

as published in KOMPAS, May 21 2012

Jakarta, KOMPAS – The Government will announce the second revision of the moratorium map on Monday (21/5). The revision combined all data from different agencies.

“We are in coordination with the Coordination Agency of National Survey and Mapping, National Land Agency and Ministry of Agriculture in the compilation of this revision. We collected issued permits and licenses before the Presidential Instruction was published,” said Bambang Soepijanto, Director of Urban Design of the Ministry of Forestry on Saturday (19/5) in Jakarta.

This revision is a mandate of the Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011 on the Moratorium on New Permits and Improvement of Primary Natural and Peat Forest signed by President SBY in May 2011.

The areas in the moratorium maps changes in numbers. When all data are collected and mapped, Bambang continued, the areas of primary natural and peat forest, on which no existing permit, will be identified.

Separately, the Head of the Moratorium Monitoring Working Group of the Task Force REDD+, Tjokorda Nirarta Samadhi, said that the map has initially only used data from the Ministry of Forestry. In November 2011, through the inclusion of data from other agencies, the first revision of the moratorium map was established.

According to Nirarta, each point of changes within the second revision would be marked with description on how it has changed. “So it will be traceable, why it has changed and based on what, e.g. permit of what number for the particular area,” he said.

Condition of Peatlands

The second revision would include data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. The second revision would reduce the amount of peatlands of 49,000 ha based on various land use scheme. Ground verification identified an increase on the amount of protected/conservation areas of 500,000 ha.

Nirarta requested the public for not to stick on numbers, since the numbers can change based on the synchronisation and on cross checking between ministries.

“Don’t just look at the numbers but at the process of the compilation of the numbers. Through this moratorium map, each ministry is connected and communicate to each other even by heavy argument and hard discussion. I expect that here there is a standard procedure for the issuance of permits,” he said.

Orangutans die after clearing by burning | Der Spiegel

The perpetrators are threatened through high sentences:  One must pay a lot of fines and count up to 10 years in prison for burning Indonesian forest. Yet, two palm oil companies in Sumatra have set a large area of peat swamp on fire. More than a hundred orangutans could find their ends.

Jakarta – Dozens of orangutans could have died after clearing by burning in the northern part of Sumatra – Indonesian authorities have now initiated an investigation against two palm oil companies. Those were accused to have set a large area of peat swamp forest on fire in order to gain more space for their plantation, said a spokesman of the Ministry of Environment on Tuesday.

According to local environmentalists, about hundred orangutans died in Tripa Forest, only 200 were alive. All great apes in this area could by the end of this year eliminated.

A total of 6600 orangutans are estimated in Sumatra. Environmentalists have sent warning for months. Only 14,000 of an initially 60,000 ha forest in this region were intact.

Clearing by burning is restricted in Indonesia and can be penalized for 10 years in prison and fined up to almost 800,000 Euro. Still, burning of forest is common to rapidly clear large areas. Thereby, climate damaging carbon dioxide emerges in peat swamp forest such as in Tripa, since not only tress but also the soil of meters deep are burned out.

The accused companies should have burned 1600 ha (16 km2). The companies Die beschuldigten Unternehmen sollen 1600 Hektar (16 Quadratkilometer) abgefackelt haben. The companies reject the allegations and make local farmers responsible.

Just by the beginning of April failed a lawsuit filed by the environmentalists. They have tried to stop a permit through the court that allowed palm oil producer PT Kallista Alam to clear 1600 ha of Tripa Forest for oil palm plantation. The court declared of being unauthorised. The parties would first have to reach an amicable agreement, so stated in the verdict.

“If the court had explained this earlier that it is not authorised, the case could have been filed in higher court,” criticised the biologist Ian Singleton, who leads the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and fights for years for the preservation of the forest. “One can call the Judges’ behaviour as ridiculous, if it was not so fatal for at least 200 critically endangered orangutans.”