Tag Archive | Biodiversity

Sciencists urged to stand up for Aceh’s biodiversity

The Jakarta Post | Hotli Simanjuntak and Ruslan Sangaji,

Banda Aceh/Palu | Archipelago | Wed, March 20 2013, 10:47 AM

Paper Edition | Page: 5

Institutions affiliated with the Aceh Spatial Planning Alliance have urged scientists and conservationists to push the Aceh provincial administration to amend the spatial planning bylaw (RTRW), which they say is potentially damaging and could reduce the region’s forests, threatening its biodiversity.

Aceh is regarded as having the largest biodiversity in Asia Pacific, especially with the Leuser Ecosystem, which is currently a giant laboratory for scientists from across the globe.

The region is also where many wildlife species can be found, such as the rhinoceros, Sumatran tiger, orangutan and elephant.

According to Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) director TM Zulfikar, the Aceh RTRW is loaded with the interests of particular individuals and sacrifices the environment and sustainability of local communities living in the conservation area.

“We reject the proposed Aceh RTRW. Many people wish to take advantage of natural resources in Aceh, such as the forest in Aceh Tamiang, which will be turned into other areas in the planned RTRW,” said Zulfikar.

In the planned Aceh RTRW, the government plans to convert around 1.2 million hectares of forests into a limited forest production zone by converting it into plantation and mining areas and other purposes.

In the draft, drawn up in 2009, Aceh’s forested areas reached 3.57 million hectares, or around 63 percent of the total land area of Aceh. Should the proposed RTRW be accepted by the central government, Aceh could lose up to 2.5 million hectares of its forested areas.

Ian Singleton, from the Sumatra Orangutan Conservation Program, said the change in forest area allocation proposed in the draft RTRW had the potential to shrink major water resources, such as rivers, that irrigated rice fields in Pidie regency, as well as bringing the threat of flash floods and landslides.

Meanwhile, biodiversity experts from 25 Asia Pacific nations are gathering in Banda Aceh, Aceh, to attend a conference on tropical biodiversity protection sponsored by the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC). The meeting is aimed at promoting research as well as raising people’s awareness about the importance of tropical biodiversity and conservation.

The conference is being facilitated by the Aceh provincial administration through Syiah Kuala University, Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Strategic Resources Institute, under the theme, “Linking Biodiversity Science to Policy and Conservation Action”.

The conference is taking place from March 18 to 22 and will be followed with a trip to Ulu Masen forest, one of the forests in Aceh that has the biggest biodiversity in the province.

Aceh was chosen to hold the meeting because of its biodiversity reputation.

“There’s no other place in the world like Aceh, where species live in the same area. That’s why we chose Aceh to hold this meeting,” said ATBC secretary Antony J. Lynam.

“One of the biggest problems faced by tropical diversity is the defragmentation and loss of forests. There’s so many cases where deforestation has contributed to the depletion of species like the rhino, tiger and orangutan,” said Lynam.

Separately, Central Sulawesi is also facing deforestation and environmental degradation. The province lost 600,000 hectares of a total of 4.3 million hectares of forest areas in 2012.

Central Sulawesi Forestry Office head Nahardi said critical forests were found in 10 regencies, such as Donggala (147,504 hectares), Poso (118,893 hectares) and Parigi Moutong (99,997 hectares).

Nahardi added that 220,288.33 hectares of the total forested area in Central Sulawesi had experienced deforestation and degradation.

He said the office had initiated several strategies, such as a rehabilitation and conservation program, to reduce the area of critical forests across the province.

 

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REDD+ Task Force Press Release

for .pdf version in English click here

untuk versi Bahasa Indonesia klik disini

REDD TASK FORCE URGES ACEH GOVERNMENT TO TAKE FURTHER ACTION ON RAWA TRIPA CASE

Jakarta, 18 July – The Head of the Presidential Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4) and Chairman of the REDD+ Task Force, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, continues to follow up and monitor authorities in Aceh with concrete measures on developments related to his letter dated 3 July 2012 to the Governor of Aceh requesting the revocation of the licenses and permits of two companies whose activities are found to be in violation of several legal provisions.

UKP4 has been leading the strong government initiative since April 2012 in investigating the case of illegal land clearing through systematic and deliberate forest fires by two companies in the area of Rawa Tripa, close to the globally renowned Leuser Ecosystem Area and home to protected peat lands and endangered bio-diversity. Several NGOs as well as members of the public had also raised this issue and petitioned the government to take appropriate action.

Investigations carried out under the directions of UKP4 and REDD+ Task Force in April 2012 clearly established that violations had taken place under Law number 18/2004 concerning Plantation; Law number 32/2009 concerning Living Environment Protection and Management; and Law number 26/2007 concerning Spatial Planning as well as Presidential Decree number 32/1990 concerning Protected Area Management.

Letters were sent to the Ministry of Environment and the Head of the Indonesian National Police demanding thorough investigations. These investigations further revealed several irregularities in the issuance of permits as well as blatant violation of several laws governing the conversion of land use. On 3 July, a team from UKP4/REDD+ Task Force comprising the Heads of the Working Groups on Legal Review and Moratorium Monitoring travelled to Aceh to hold meetings with provincial officials. They also conducted aerial surveys of the forest fires which confirmed that the two companies continued to act not only in gross violation of the applicable laws but also in complete disregard for conservation of endangered bio-diversity and concerned public opinion.

A letter dated 3 July from the Head of the Presidential Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4) and Chairman of the REDD+ Task Force, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto to the Governor of Aceh Province in Nangroe Aceh Darussalam, Dr. Zaini Abdullah, requesting the revocation of Plantation and Cultivation Permit (IUP-B) issued to Surya Panen Subur (PT SPS 2) and Permit Letter Number 525/BP2T/5322/2011 dated 25 August 2011 issued in the name of Kalista Alam (PT KA) was handed over to the Regional Secretary (SEKDA) during this visit.

In a bid to sensitize the provincial authorities to the various provisions in the Moratorium Decree that is part of the UKP4 and REDD+ Task Force mandate, the following six aspects were also outlined in a list presented to the provincial authorities:

1. The Moratorium is intended for all activities concerning land-based permits in Rawa Tripa to prevent degradation and to find comprehensive solution for economic, conservation and social needs.

2. Conducting scientific research or comprehensive inventory to identify the whole bio-psychical characteristics in Rawa Tripa including hydrological integrity, chemical concentration, as well as its mineral soil. This research is required, among others, to define area delineation which is targeted as the protected area (core peat area) as well as for the use of buffer zone.

3. Based on the complete understanding, it is necessary to accelerate the finalization of Spatial Planning for Leuser Ecosystem area, in particular Rawa Tripa. This Spatial Planning will be adopted by and/or adjusted to the ongoing development of Spatial Planning of Aceh Province.

4. Collaboratively preparing a plan for comprehensive protection and management in Rawa Tripa Area so as to achieve a win-win solution in the context of conservation, economy, and social needs. For example, the existing plantation activity in the area must be halted and moved to another suitable land (land swap), or the activity is allowed to run provided that their business concept is changed into ecosystem restoration, for instance, by replacing palm oil with ramin and jelutung (Dyera Costulata) which are more suitable with the swampy peat ecosystem.

5. Strengthening the ongoing legal measures (criminal, administrative, and civil) so as to get swift conclusions. Providing backup to comprehensive legal reviews particularly of the issued permits for Leuser Ecosystem Area – specifically the Rawa Tripa area.

6. Regain public trust in the government, such as by conducting corrective measures for the practices committed by the security apparatus in the field, for example by taking stern measure against unscrupulous apparatus/Indonesian Military for intimidating the community and asking the police/Indonesian Military stations to move out from the concession area (company).
This cooperation and collaboration at the national and provincial level is hoped to set a positive precedent and send a strong signal that there will be zero tolerance for violations endangering the environment and the country’s rich natural resources and bio-diversity. UKP4/REDD+ Task Force will continue to review other permits that may have been improperly issued and also monitor activities of the license or permit holders to ensure that such acts are not repeated.

For further information please contact
Chair of Communication and Stakeholders Engagement Working Group
REDD+ Task Force
Chandra Kirana
Kirana.chandra@gmail.com