Tag Archive | Tripa

Save Orangutans and The Tripa Peat Swamp Forest

December 2012: The Sumatran orangutan is losing habitat fast. Pristine forest in Indonesia is being carved up, set on fire and converted into palm oil plantations at a shocking pace. The drive for profit is seeing palm oil companies also move into areas of protected forest – like the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest in Aceh. Home to many iconic species, including the densest population of the last remaining 6,600 Sumatran orangutans, Tripa is also a critical carbon storehouse for the planet.

The destruction of Tripa is having disastrous consequences: for the wildlife and biodiversity which is perishing with it, for the local communities whose livelihoods depend upon it, and for all the rest of us as carbon emissions escalate. Tragically, over 80% of orangutans in Tripa forest are estimated to have perished as a result of this habitat destruction.

But in a case that could make history, two palm oil companies are now facing court for operating illegally in Tripa. The tireless efforts of local and international NGOs have pushed this issue forward and it is about to become a real test case for Indonesia. If the law is upheld and the law-breakers are punished then there is hope for protecting other areas of forest in Indonesia in the future. If not, the law loses even more ground and greed gets the green light. International public pressure is urgently needed to help uphold Indonesia’s environmental laws and to take a stand against this blatant exploitation for the benefit of so few. Please add your voice and help show that the world is watching this case.

What you can do right now:

1. Sign this petition to demand that the law be upheld in the Tripa case:
http://www.change.org/saveTripa2

2. Find out more and donate to the campaign at:
http://www.sumatranorangutan.org/

3. Like and Share this video as widely as possible.

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.

Fears over Indonesia’s thirst for palm oil

Phys.org

The roar of chainsaws has replaced birdsong, the once-lush, green jungle scorched to a barren grey. The equivalent of six football pitches of forest is lost every minute in Indonesia.

Tanjung Puting Nat Park – Orang Utan, Proboscis Monkey Camp Leakey –

The disappearance of the trees has pushed thousands of animals—from the birds they harbour and sustain to orangutans, gibbons and black panthers—out of their natural homes and habitats.

They have been replaced by plantations that are too nutrient-poor to support such wildlife, instead dedicated solely to producing fruit that is pulped to make oil used globally in products ranging from food to fuel.

A palm oil tree can yield useable fruit in three years and continue doing so for the next 25 years. But such wealth creation has meant environmental destruction. “We don’t see too many orangutans any more”, said a worker with a weather-beaten face, taking a break in the shade of a hut built on a path gouged out of the forest floor.

Experts believe there are about 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 80 percent of them in Indonesia’s Borneo and the rest in Malaysia. Exact data on their decline is hard to come by, say primatologists. “What we see now is a contest between orangutans and palm oil for a home,” said Sri Suci Utami Atmoko from National University in Jakarta. “You can judge that the population is depleting from the loss of orangutan habitats.” Gibbons, often recognisable by the rings of white fur that frame their faces, are among the hardest-hit species. “There are 100,000 gibbons in Borneo. But in 15-20 years, there will be more viable populations,” said Aurelien Brule, a French national based in Borneo for 15 years who runs an animal sanctuary. Gibbons rescued from the destruction of their forest homes cannot be returned alone into new wild habitats. “Other pairs protecting their own territory would kill them,” said Brule, adding that rampant deforestation has wiped out sites suitable for single animals. Enlarge A bulldozer that is used in clearing forest land for palm oil plantations in Borneo. The roar of chainsaws has replaced birdsong, the once-lush, green jungle scorched to a barren grey. The equivalent of six football pitches of forest is lost every minute in Indonesia. There is also a human cost, with the permits for plantations resulting in the eviction of indigenous people.

Abdon Nababan, the secretary general of AMAN, an Indonesian indigenous peoples alliance, said there is no exact data but recorded cases of land conflict are in the hundreds, with thousands of people possibly affected. “Palm oil has brought fortune to Indonesia, but it has been gained with blood,” said Jakarta-based forest campaigner for Greenpeace, Wirendro Sumargo. Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, has exponentially increased the land dedicated to the commodity from 274,000 hectares (680,000 acres) in the 1980s to 7.32 million hectares in 2009, government documents show. The industry has helped push Indonesia’s GDP growth rate above 6.0 percent every year since 2005, but at the cost of huge tracts of rainforest. An area roughly the size of Denmark was lost between 2000 and 2010 across Indonesia and its neighbour Malaysia, according to a study published last year in the Global Change Biology journal. Despite some backlash around the world, including an unsuccessful attempt in France to push an amendment to quadruple tax on palm oil to discourage consumption—the destruction is unlikely to stop any time soon. Indonesia, which together with Malaysia holds 85 percent of the market, aims to increase production more than 60 percent by 2020. To appease environmental concerns, it last year imposed a moratorium on new permits in primary forests and peatlands. But critics say it is a cosmetic move, with plantations overlapping sensitive environments. One example can be found in the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, in the northwest of Aceh province, home to endangered species such as Sumatran rhinos and tigers. In this area, “we have evidence that five palm oil firms are doing illegal practices”, said Deddy Ratih, forest campaigner for WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia. Derom Bangun, the chairman of umbrella organisation the Indonesian Palm Oil Board, doesn’t deny the issue but says improvements are being made. “The government has seen (the violations) and has taken steps to fix it. Ultimately we want the palm oil industry to work according to the rules,” he added. In an effort to improve their image, some palm oil firms have joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a forum consisted namely of green groups and growers. The WWF, one of the founders of RSPO, admitted that there is still a conservation shortfall. “Generally land allocation for plantations still overlaps with primary forests and peatlands, including in areas that are the habitat of key species,” said Irwan Gunawan, WWF deputy director of market transformation in Indonesia. “We are encouraging the government to pay attention to this,” he added.

Palm Oil company PT Kallista Alam fails to show in court case filed by Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment over destruction of world renowned Sumatran Orangutan stronghold, the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest.

Press Release – 27/11/2012 – For International Distribution

Palm Oil company PT Kallista Alam fails to show in court case filed by Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment  over destruction of world renowned Sumatran Orangutan stronghold, the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest.

[Meulaboh] Today the Court of Meulaboh, in Aceh Province, Indonesia, held its first hearing of a civil case brought by Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Attorney General’s Office vs the palm oil company, PT Kallista Alam, for crimes conducted in the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest.

The Indonesian Ministry of the Environment was represented by prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Indonesia. PT Kallista Alam, on the other hand, did not appear, causing the trial to be postponed since the judges were unable to address both parties.

One of the prosecution team, Lawyer Ryan Palasi, expressed disappointment over the company’s absence, “it suggests the defendant is not taking the proceedings seriously and not committed to settling the case,” he said after the hearing.

Conservation Director for the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme said “We very much welcome this landmark action by the Ministry of Environment and will be monitoring the case closely, There continues to be a huge amount of international interest in the events in Tripa, building the momentum for multiple investigations and  this case to proceed. Earlier this year, the Administrational Court of Medan found that at least one concession owned by PT Kallista Alam in Tripa was illegal, resulting in Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah immediately showing strong leadership towards conservation by revoking the highly controversial permit. Tripa is indeed a high profile case  with considerable international interest in how the Indonesian Government’s current prosecutions progress” he added.

Chairman of Friends of the Earth Indonesia’s Aceh office (WALHI Aceh), TM Zulfikar, concurred, “Walhi Aceh applauds the determination shown by the Ministry of Environment in bringing this case to the law court in Meulaboh. We hope this case will help strengthen land use planning and illustrate consistency in natural resource management within the province. Improved governance and accountability of law breakers is urgently needed to ensure Aceh’s natural resources can be managed more sustainably in future for the numerous benefits they provide for Aceh’s people.  We would advice business operating in Aceh to disengage with environmentally destructive activities, much of the destruction of the Tripa ecosystem has be done illegally, and now its time to redress the balance and bring those responsible to account.”

continues

The Tripa Peat Swamp Forest comprises 61,000 hectares, within the larger 2.6 million hectare protected Leuser Ecosystem; one of South East Asia’s most important biodiversity hotspots and the only place on earth where the Sumatran Tiger, Rhino, Elephant and Orangutan can all be found living side by side.

The start of legal proceedings in this case coincides with a visit to Indonesia by the Crown Prince of Norway, Haakon Magnus, and his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who according to press reports are interested in discussing environmental issues with President SBY whilst they are here. The Scandinavian country pledged a $1 billion assistance package to help protect Indonesian forests in 2010, on the condition that there is a verifiable reduction in deforestation and deforestation in Indonesia. Before the current wave of destruction by oil palm companies began in Tripa, these swamps provided abundant fresh clean water for local communities, and even today is a carbon store of global importance in the battle against climate change.  In fact, large tracts of Tripa are also off limits to new plantation developments under a moratorium on new plantations in primary forests and peat swamps established by President SBY as part of the Government’s commitment under its 1 billion dollar agreement with Norway.

“Satellite imagery and community reports identify at least three companies operating in Tripa that have clearly breached the moratorium and other government legislation. These include concessions claimed by PT Kallista Alam, PT Surya Panen Subur 2 and PT Dua Perkasa Lestari,” said Deddy Ratih, Spatial Planning Advocacy Manager for WAHLI Indonesia. “We would like to invite Crown Prince Magnus and Indonesian President SBY to visit Tripa so they can see first hand the continuing deforestation, including those areas clearly off limits under the agreement between the two countries, to alert them to the realities on the ground and the fact that forest clearance and drainage of the peatlands is still continuing despite the legal processes now ongoing. All the palm oil companies in Tripa need to be reviewed to ensure they abide by the permits, and if the permits do not follow the law, they should be immediately revoked, the law of Indonesia needs to be followed”  he added.

These sentiments were echoed by a local community member who wished to remain anonymous, due to fears of retribution from the companies concerned.  “We are happy to see the Government’s efforts to help us save and restore Tripa, but are also concerned as the destruction of Tripa is still continuing on the ground, even today. These companies keep setting new fires to clear the forest, new canals are still being dug to drain the swamps, and the area is still dying as a result. Even though this case has now been brought to court something urgently needs to be done to stop activities on the ground immediately, or we will still lose Tripa forever,” he continued.

“Perhaps the biggest crime”, concluded an impassioned Dr Singleton, “is that despite all the

continues

investigations, the court proceedings, and some successes so far, we may well end up with justice in the courts, but still lose the unique Tripa peat swamp forest ecosystem and its globally important Sumatran Orangutan population. Time is running out, and stopping illegal activities in the field and closing the drainage canals in Tripa has to be the number one priority. For the companies representatives to not even appear before the court when summoned today shows an all time low to the respect to courts, law and Government of Indonesia by the palm oil companies who operate in Tripa, they really must just believe the rules do not apply”.

The next hearing in this high profile environmental case is scheduled to be held in the district court of Meulaboh, Aceh Province, on 12th December.

ENDS

For further comment please contact:

Dr. Ian Singleton

Director of Conservation, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program

Email: mokko123@gmail.com

Deddy Ratih

Spatial Planning Advocacy Manager, WALHI (Friends of the Earth) Indonesia

Email: ube.hitar@gmail.com

Yuyun Indradi

Political Campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia

Email: yuyun.indradi@greenpeace.org

State Attorney Lawyers File The Legal Case of Tripa Peat Swamp This Week

atjehpost

JAKARTA – Deputy V heading the Legal Division of the Ministry of Environment, Sudariono, explained that a team of State Attorney Lawyers will file a lawsuit in the case of the Tripa Peat Swamp this week.

“The plan is at the beginning of this month, and within one to three days, the team of State Attorney Lawyers, as the legal representatives of the Minister of the Environment, will depart for Aceh,” said Sudariono during a press conference after a Coordination Meeting on Environmental Law Enforcement in 2012 in Jakarta, last Tuesday morning, November 6, 2012.

He said, there are two lawsuits to be filed: a criminal case and a civil case related to PT. Kallista Alam (KA) and PT. Surya Panen Subur (SPS) 2. For PT. KA the case will be filed in Nagan Raya, Aceh Barat, namely the District Court of Meulaboh.

While for PT. SPS-2 the case will be filed in the District Court of Jakarta. But, Sudariono did not declare exactly which court. “In accordance with the deed,” he claimed.

Sudariono said that for the criminal case, the team of State Attorney Lawyers is prepared with an Order of Appoinment for the Public Prosecutor to Observe the Development of the Investigation of the Crime, also known as P 16.

“The criminal charges are compiled together with BPLN LH, so hopefully,” added Sudariono.

Currently, the Ministry of Environment ,with the Attorney General and the Supreme Court, are applying a Certification Programme for Environmental Judges.

The goal of this programme is to improve the legal handling of environmental cases at all court levels, including the Administrative Court, to better fulfill the sense of justice for litigants involved, and also to support efforts in environmental protection.

“There are still laws that are unclear, so this certification programme is important in order to build a common perception,” said the Head of the Supreme Court, Hatta Ali.

Hatta Ali said that the enforcement of  environmental law so far strictly refers to Law No. 32/ 2009, but there are still obstacles on the field. “Concerning expert witnesses, for example, what is the criteria? Does it fulfill the requirements for filing a “legal standing?” said Ali.

The Ministry of Environment indicated that the Certification Programme for Environmental Judges will be carried out for two months. This programme prioritises the judges in charge in the regions with the most severe envrionmental destruction, namely Sumatera, Java and Kalimantan.(bna)

 

Forgetting Old Promises | Koran Tempo

by Untung Widyanto, free translation by Adji Darsoyo

article on Koran Tempo Wednesday 24 October 2012

The title of the PowerPoint presentation is interesting: “High Conservation Value Forest”. The exposure of 35 slides reflects a review on one of the oil palm companiesin the Sub districts of Darul Makmur within Nagan Raya District in Aceh. On the 23rd slide, the company promises to conserve over 6,000 ha area. What happens now? “The new owner of the company does not care about the old promise,” said Graham Usher form SOCP yesterday. He presented satellite images from Landsat 7 taken from last year up to last week.

On December 26, 2011, for example, the forest cover of Tripa was 12,655 ha. Satellite image taken on last October 9 shows only 10,024 ha remaining. This means that during 2012, 2,631 ha of forest have gone. In fact, said Graham, 80% of those lost forest area lie within two concessions.

Currently, the largest forest fragment existing in Tripa Peat Swamp covers 5,365 ha. Other large forest fragments cover only 994, 674, 382, 250, and 146 ha each. The rest are under 100 ha.

This information is, according to Ian Singleton, very important, regarding that one orangutan in the wild nature needs quite a large exploring range. E.g. the female ones need up to 1,500 ha. This means that remaining orangutan within the existing fragments will have difficulties to have enough range and food.

Besides satellite image, the team of SOCP also took aerial video recording. “Since June, one of the concessions has excavated more than 15 km drainage,” said Graham.

● UNTUNG WIDYANTO

EPA must not approve palm oil!

An adult male orangutan is captured for re-release after it’s home forest has quickly been cleared for palm oil plantations in Tripa, Aceh Province, 18 April 2012. The Tripa Peatswamp forest supports the highest density of Sumatran Orangutans anywhere on earth, but are still being cleared by palm oil companies who think they are beyond the reach of the law, the situation is urgent and requires action according to Dr Ian Singelton, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program. Photo: Paul Hilton

[SIGN THE PETITION HERE]

The rainforests are the lungs of our planet and must be protected. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently determined that palm oil should not be included in the Renewable Fuel Standard, because palm oil causes the most pollution due to the clearing and burning dense rainforests, many of them on carbon-rich peatland, for oil palm plantations.

The palm oil industry is vigorously attacking EPA’s conclusion, alleging it’s based on inaccurate assumptions and data. It doesn’t want it used to disqualify palm oil-based fuels from the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

The industry has hired lobbying companies like Holland & Knight to overturn EPA’s preliminary finding that palm-based biofuels don’t meet the greenhouse gas standards of the federal renewable auto fuels mandate.

Indonesia is the world’s biggest palm oil producer. The widespread deforestation for new plantations has made Indonesia the world’s third biggest global warming polluter and has led to the killing of endangered species like orang utans.

More information

Next week an EPA delegation will visit a palm oil plantation on Sumatra island and then meet the Indonesian agriculture minister, Gamal Nasir. Regarding this visit, it is extremely important to make the EPA aware of the environmental hazards caused by the cultivation of palm oil.

Please tell the EPA to stand by their decision that palm-based biofuels don’t meet the greenhouse gas standards of the federal renewable auto fuels mandate!