Indonesia: Firms told to comply with peatland protection regulations

Moses Ompusunggu The Jakarta Post 28 Jul 17;

The government is calling on industrial forest firms to comply with its peatland protection policy amid the increasing threat of forest fires in numerous regions in the country.

"There is no compromise for their obligation to comply with the regulations on peatland protection," Environment and Forestry Ministry secretary-general Bambang Hendroyono said in a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Bambang said the government had set deadlines for industrial forest (HTI) concessionaires to immediately submit a revision of their work plans that had previously been rejected because, for example, it outlined a plan to cultivate in peatland areas intended for conservation.

Ninety-nine HTI firms have submitted their revision proposals, according to the ministry's data. However, Bambang said that most of the proposals had yet to detail "work plans that were in line with the framework of peatland protection."

Under the 2017 Environment and Forestry Ministerial Regulation, the government will provide substitution land for HTI concessionaires whose concession areas are made up of 40 percent of protected peatland.

The land swap scheme will be based on their revised work plans, which have to adhere to the government's plan to restore peatland areas. The revised work plans must detail HTI areas where there is peatland intended for conservation.

Forest and peatland fires, meanwhile, have started in at least three provinces in Indonesia -- Aceh, Jambi and West Kalimantan -- in the past week. (ary)