Hundreds of mining and oil palm plantation companies are operating illegally in Indonesian Borneo, according to an investigation by a task force set up by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
As reported by AFP, the task force—which was established to investigate the ‘forest mafia’—found that less than 20 percent of plantation companies and less than 1.5 percent of mining firms had the proper permits operate in Central Kalimantan.
“There are only 67 plantation companies out of 352 that operate legally in Central Kalimantan province, while there are only nine out of 615 mine units that operate legally,” the Ministry of Forestry said in a statement.
Draining and clearing of peat forest in Central Kalimantan. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.
Overall 891 companies were found to be operating illegally. The Ministry of Forestry estimated potential losses to the state at 158.5 trillion rupiah ($17.6 bilion) in the province alone.
Central Kalimantan, which is home to large populations of endangered orangutans, has suffered extensive deforestation over the past 15 years, mostly due to mining and development of oil palm and timber plantations. Much of the damage has occurred on peatlands, ecosystems that store large amounts of carbon.
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Indonesia’s plan to save its rainforests
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