June 11, 2018

Company seen doing nothing to end Leuser peat violations

( - As part of its follow-up on an order from the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya aimed at taking law enforcement measures against peat violations happening in the Tripa peat swamps in Aceh's Leuser Ecosystem, a ministry team has identified numerous key pieces of evidence on the ground level (Jun 7). 

The ministry's initial legally-based ground investigation concluded that there are strong indications that the palm oil company PT Surya Panen Subur (PT SPS-2) has done nothing to prevent peat violations occurring in its concession.

The Ministry's Law Enforcement Director General Rasio "Roy" Ridho Sani told earlier (Jun 7) said that the ministry's law enforcement actions would focus on the various modus operandi used in the ongoing peat violations.

“After the Idul Fitri public holidays, strict law enforcement measures will be taken against anyone involved in these peat violations, both at the PT SPS-2 and PT Kallista Alam palm oil concessions,” Roy explained.

Minister Siti Nurbaya’s decision to make this legal move comes after Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf has proved unable to end the unrelenting peat violations in the aforementioned palm oil concessions in the Tripa peat swamps, as was requested of him by the minister in writing early last month.

The ground-based evidence discovered by the ministry team confirms the ongoing peat violations taking place in the PT SPS-2 palm oil concession, as seen in the photos below. This has prompted the ministry to decide on appropriate law enforcement actions against the perpetrators involved.


Meanwhile, the Ministry’s Nature Conservation and Ecosystems Director General Wiratno, whose team has joined the ministry’s law enforcement team in this case, told (Jun 8) that his team in Aceh was also closely monitoring the pattern of the peat violations in question in response to the minister’s order.

Illuminating video 

A ground-based observation by the team (Jun 4), as depicted in the following video, demonstrated that the ongoing peat violations in the PT SPS-2 palm oil concession have continued to reduce the area’s remaining peat forests which play host to the critically-endangered Sumatran orangutan.

Director General Wiratno confirmed this, saying that the size of the remaining Tripa peat swamp forests considered relatively intact, according to his team’s calculations, is equal to a mere six thousand soccer fields. 

“For this reason, our minister has emphasized that there is no other choice. The ongoing peat violations being committed in the Tripa peat swamps must be halted based on law enforcement actions,” he asserted.

We should be rightfully afraid of losing most, if not all, of the remaining peat forests in the Tripa peat swamps, seeing that these forests - home to the world's densest population of orangutans and also part of a peat protection zone - are now down to the last few thousand hectares. 

Multiple relevant stakeholders have voiced their concerns on this issue to, expressing their strong hope that the minister’s imminent legal move, to stop the peat violations in the two palm oil concessions while also implementing law enforcement measures against them, is carried out to the maximum extent possible.