Illegal forest conversion by mining and plantation companies in Indonesian Borneo has cost the state $36 billion according to a Forest Ministry official.
Speaking to AFP, Forestry Ministry information center director Masyhud said that more than 1,200 mining companies and 500 oil palm plantation firms are under investigation by the Ministry of Forestry for operating illegally in Central, East and West Kalimantan provinces on the island of Borneo.
“Encroachment of forest areas for illegal mining and plantation activities including logging in Kalimantan has caused losses of around Rp 311 trillion ($36.4 billion),” Masyhud told AFP.
Deforestation in West Kalimantan
Mongabay.com wasn’t successful in its initial attempt to contact Masyhud for more information on the time-frame of the alleged losses.
The statement comes three months after an investigation by the “Forest Mafia” Task Force found that more than 90 percent of mining and plantation companies operating in Central Kalimantan failed to secure the proper permits prior to launching their activities. The cost to the state amounted to 158.5 trillion rupiah ($17.6 billion) in the province. Some environmentalists are demanding that companies — which include some of Indonesia’s largest and most powerful conglomerates — reimburse the Indonesian state for these losses.
(04/22/2011) Wandojo Siswanto, one of the negotiators for Indonesia’s delegation at last year’s climate talks in Copenhagen and a key architect of its Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) partnership with Norway, has been sentenced to three years in prison for accepting bribes.
(04/14/2011) Increased fragmentation of political jurisdictions and the election cycle contribute to Indonesia’s high deforestation rate according to analysis published by researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and South Dakota State University (SDSU). The research confirms the observation that Indonesian politicians in forest-rich districts seem repay their election debts by granting forest concessions.
(02/23/2011) Some of Indonesia’s biggest and most powerful palm oil companies appear to have failed to initially secure the proper permits to convert rainforests to oil palm plantations in Central Kalimantan, reports Greenomics, an Indonesian activist group.