Forests and Peat Burns, Sebangau National Park Becomes Palm Oil Plantantions.

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Forests and Peat Burns, Sebangau National Park Becomes Palm Oil Plantantions.

The latest report on the Network of Independent Forestry Monitors (JPIK) – the Loss of Our Forests and Peatlands – reveals systematic and extensive encroachment, as well as illegal logging within the Sebangau National Park (Sebangau National Park) reaching up to the rehabilitation zone and jungle zone.

JPIK’s repeated monitoring from the end of 2016 to the beginning of 2018 found that forests and peatlands had been converted and burned for oil palm plantations in Tangkiling and Marang, Bukit Batu District in Palangkaraya, one of the Sebangau National Park management areas. JPIK also found that illegal logging took place within the national park which was allegedly supplied to the local timber industry in Central Kalimantan.

The results of the image analysis show 19 thousand hectares of Sebangau National Park burned in 2015. More than half of the total hotspots in all national parks in Indonesia in the same year were in Sebangau National Park. The reason is believed to be clearing forests and land for oil palm plantations and agricultural land.

JPIK Campaigner, Dhio Teguh Ferdyan said, “instead of being maintained, the national park management unit closest to the provincial government center in Palangkaraya – which in theory should be able to be protected intact – in fact allowed encroachment that caused the destruction of tropical peat swamp forests”.

JPIK’s monitoring confirms that forests and peatlands have been cleared and burned in Tangkiling and Marang, along and inside national parks for oil palm plantations. JPIK confirmed eleven GPS coordinates in this area inside the national park, right in the rehabilitation zone and jungle zone.

Saluang Welum, a farmer group in Marang is estimated to have converted more than 1,000 hectares of land, some of which are in national parks. Information from the public stated that several high-ranking officials from the Palangkaraya city government owned land around the Palangkaraya management area in Sebangau National Park. The names of these officials were found on the garden map of the Saluang Welum farmer group, which has been divided into 26 plots based on each owner. The access road that cuts through the national park was built by the Public Works and Spatial Planning Office of Palangkaraya City to facilitate this farmer group .

In Tangkiling, the loss of forests forced orangutans to move and build nests on oil palm plantations. It is ironic because the Government states that Sebangau National Park is a pilot location for peat restoration, and is included in the demonstration of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD +).

“Illegal logging and conversion of Sebangau National Park into oil palm plantations is worrying. This national park is home to one of the largest populations of endangered orangutans and its peatland is a very important carbon stock. This activity must be stopped immediately, “said Siobhan Pearce, EIA Campaigner.

JPIK has reported acts of illegal encroachment and logging in Sebangau National Park to the Directorate General of Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. But until now there has been no concrete effort and law enforcement against these illegal activities. This clearly shows that the central and regional governments have failed to enforce the law and protect forests and peatland ecosystems.

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Editor’s Note

  • JPIK is an Indonesian Independent Forestry Network that was approved and declared on 23 September 2010. JPIK currently consists of 51 non-governmental organizations, active members from Aceh to Papua. The establishment of JPIK is a commitment from Indonesian civil society to actively contribute towards better forest governance.
  • The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is an independent organization founded in 1984. We investigate and campaign in the fight against environmental crime. Our investigations expose transnational wildlife crime, focusing on elephants and tigers, and forest crimes such as illegal logging and deforestation for commercial crops such as oil palm. We work to protect global marine ecosystems by overcoming threats posed by plastic pollution, and commercial exploitation of whales and dolphins. Finally, we reduce the impact of climate change by campaigning to eliminate strong greenhouse gases, expose related illegal trade and improve energy efficiency in the refrigeration sector.