Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. The obscure legal framework governing the management of the country’s forests has given rise to hundreds of sometimes deadly conflicts between rural communities and forestry and plantation companies, an environmentalist said on Thursday.
Berry Nahdian Furqon, executive director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), said at least 12 people had been killed and 69 arrested as a result of these conflicts in the past two years.
“The trigger for these conflicts is the government’s policy on forest zoning, which doesn’t take into account the people who live there,” he said at a Walhi summit in Balikpapan.
“In these cases, those with traditional claims to the forest are always seen as being at fault.”
Prevailing government policy on forests identifies four types of zones where commercial logging and planting is prohibited, but where Berry said the practice was still rife. These are protected forests, national parks, nature reserves and conservation forests, which host some 24,500 villages nationwide.
Berry said the continued practice by provincial and regional authorities to grant logging, planting and mining concessions in these areas had since 2009 given rise to hundreds of conflicts pitting the concession holders against the local communities.
Thirty-eight of those conflicts involved plantation companies, 120 involved mines and 127 involved loggers, he said.
Berry also blamed the lack of a clear forest policy for the high deforestation rate.
Of the country’s total forested area of 130.5 million hectares, only 60 million remain, he said, warning that the figure will diminish as palm oil companies exploit the 26.7 million hectares awarded to them nationwide.
The companies have to date cleared 9.1 million hectares. The total figure also includes 3.1 million hectares of peat forests.
“At least 340 large-scale palm oil companies have operations in deep peat swamps, even though this is prohibited under a 2009 Agriculture Ministry regulation,” Berry said.
Riza Indra Riadi, head of the East Kalimantan Environmental Agency (BLH), said 60 to 70 percent of the 8.1 million hectares of forested area deemed in critical condition in the province had been cleared for oil palm plantations and housing.
The rest were degraded due to mining operations.
He added the BLH was investigating the permits of the companies involved with a view to revoking them outright if necessary.
In Jambi, authorities are warning that the province’s remaining 1.2 million hectares of forested area could vanish within the next two years unless serious protective measures are taken.
Sumber : http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/nvironment/obscure-forest-policies-creating-conflict-in-indonesia-walhi/511024