Forest Climate center
English

Home

News

'A high price to pay': new Indonesian peatland regulation may do more harm than good

22 July 2014

Draft regulation gives little consideration to local communities

Inches away from being passed, a new regulation on peatlands management in Indonesia is drawing protests from civil societies that claim it may increase land tenure conflicts among local people.

The Government Regulation on Peatland Ecosystem Protection and Management, initially drafted by the Ministry of Forestry in 2013, is getting mixed acceptance from civil society. On one hand, the regulation would offer more protection to the country’s vast peatland areas. However, on the other, some NGOs have slammed the draft as a potential source of new conflicts for local people. 

“The draft only categorizes peatlands into two functions, as protection areas and as cultivation areas,” Zenzi Suhedi, forest and plantation campaigner of Indonesian Forum for the Environment, also known as Walhi, recently told Mongabay-Indonesia. “It does not touch on the ownership issue at all which brings out the question, what will happen to local people who are already in the areas?” 
Nearly 20 percent (40 million hectares) of Indonesia is classified as wetlands, slightly more than half of which are peat swamps. These areas are found mostly on the islands of Borneo (Kalimantan), Sumatra, and Papua. Papua alone contains one-third of Indonesia's peat. Peat swamps are made up organic matter that doesn’t fully decompose, instead accumulating and holding in moisture. They can take thousands of years to form, and can be very deep – the deepest ever found was 20 meters (65 feet). They are important reservoirs of biodiversity, and a recent study found 45 percent of mammal species and 33 percent of bird species that inhabit peat swamps are considered to be at risk of extinction by the IUCN. 

Of all types of rainforest in Indonesia, with the possible exception of mangroves, peat swamps have the highest deforestation rates. Of the 49 percent of Indonesia's remaining forested peatland, less than 10 percent is considered pristine. Most has been selectively logged, partially drained, or otherwise degraded. 

Suhedi criticized the peatland management plan put forth in the draft regulation as it relies heavily on physical inventory, pertains only to the country’s larger peatlands, and does not consider social aspects. 

“It will bring confusion to local people when they are suddenly being informed that their homes are protected areas,” he said, adding that only legal institutions or groups would be allowed to manage peatlands. 

The new regulation was also criticized by Anggalia Putri, Climate Change and Community Rights Program Coordinator of HuMa. Putri underlined the fact that community rights are not considered in the draft, saying that they are simply regarded as “local wisdom.” 

“[The government] can easily claim that they have included this local wisdom, but without field monitoring and mapping out which communities are already living in the areas, it would instead bring more conflicts for local people,” she said.
According to Suhedi, the regulation contains a law enforcement loophole as it allows local governments to evaluate damage caused by mismanagement of peatlands. 

“It’ll open negotiations for local governments and companies to [argue damage extent and establish fines out of court] instead of settling them in court,” he said. “This is a step back from the progressive 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law which ensures legal steps for environmental destruction.” 

Suhedi said there is one advantage to this draft regulation – it expands criminal offenses to include peat fires, which had previously been classed under administration sanction. 

“But, this is still a high price to pay,” he cautioned. “We do believe that peatlands need to be regulated for their protection, but it would not be enough through this regulation. It might even get worse.” 

However, Arief Yuwono, Deputy Minister for Environmental Damage Control and Climate Change, Ministry of Environment, said regulation is needed to protect peatlands in Indonesia. 

“We have regulations on emissions cuts and are also now planning government regulation on peatlands,” said Yuwono. 

He added that peatlands are very influential when it comes to Indonesia’s contribution to global warming since their destruction releases 10 to 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide as compared to destruction of other forest types in the same areas. 

Currently, the draft regulation is awaiting the signature of the Minister of Forestry, whereupon it will go back to the president for his final sign-off.


Fidelis E. Satriastanti, Mongabay-Indonesia correspondent 

Source : news.mongabay.com

Print this page Send to friend

News :

[2014]

[2013]

[2012]

[2011]

[2010]

[2009]



'A high price to pay': new Indonesian peatland regulation may do more harm than good


22 July 2014


Draft regulation gives little consideration to local communities

Inches away from being passed, a new regulation on peatlands management in Indonesia is drawing protests from civil societies that claim it may increase land tenure conflicts among local people.

Riau carries out compliance audit on fire prevention


02 July 2014


The Riau provincial administration has enlisted the help of the Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus (REDD+) Management Agency in carrying out a compliance audit targeting local governments and agroforestry corporations operating in the province.

Indonesia president lauds success of logging ban, urges continued action


05 May 2014


Jakarta, Indonesia – A few months before his administration ends, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed hope that his successor would be able to prolong the ban on new logging and plantation concessions he introduced in 2011. He cited the progress it has made towards more sustainable land-use practices, and subsequent benefits in environmental conditions and public health.

West Sumatra joins Indonesia's REDD+ program


13 March 2014


West Sumatra has officially joined Indonesia's effort to cut forest loss as a pilot province under the country's REDD+ program.

Revolutionary Google-backed system unlocks power of 'big data' to save forests


20 February 2014




Global Forest Watch showing tree height and forest loss and gain between 2000 and 2012. 

World Resources Institute (WRI) today announced the release of a tool that promises to revolutionize forest monitoring. 

Revolutionary Google-backed system unlocks power of 'big data' to save forests


20 February 2014




Global Forest Watch showing tree height and forest loss and gain between 2000 and 2012. 

World Resources Institute (WRI) today announced the release of a tool that promises to revolutionize forest monitoring. 

Google forest data now available for download


14 February 2014



Forest cover data for Peninsular Malaysia from the dataset. 


The University of Maryland, Google, and other partners have made available a trove of forest cover data for download.

Indonesia rejects, delays 1.3m ha of concessions due to moratorium


12 February 2014


Background image courtesy of Bing Maps. 

The Indonesian government has rejected nearly 932,000 hectares (2.3 million acres) of oil palm, timber, and logging concessions due to its moratorium on new permits across millions of hectares of peatlands and rainforests, reports Mongabay-Indonesia.

Peatland plantations drive steep GHG emissions in Indonesia's Riau Province


05 February 2014




Oil palm and cleared forest in Riau. Photo taken by Rhett A. Butler in February 2014. 

Versatile is the best way to describe the reddish brown fruit born from oil palm trees. Both the flesh and seed of the fruit is used in many applications including cooking, cosmetics, and biofuel. In addition, the fruit is composed of 50 percent oil, making it a highly efficient product that requires less land than other oil producing crops. 


News Archives