A forestry regulation that would have allowed 7.4 million hectares of oil palm plantations in Indonesian Borneo to be legalized as forestry plantations has been revoked before it ever went into force, reports Bisnis.com, an Indonesian business daily.
Minister of Forestry Regulation No. 62 was quietly issued in August. The regulation would have legalized illegal oil palm plantations. Oddly the plantations would have been classified as “forest areas”, according to Greenomics, an Indonesian NGO that made the regulation earlier this month.
“Basically, the Minister of Forestry Regulation was only focused on how to legalize illegal palm oil plantations,” Greenomics Executive Director Elfian Effendi told mongabay.com.
“The most worrying aspect of [recognizing palm plantations as forestry plantations in production forests] would be the likely aggressive expansion of palm plantations on a massive scale into designated forest areas all over the country,” he continued. “If this were to happen, it would result the felling of the country’s remaining natural forest to make way for oil palms in a very short space of time.”
Presently oil palm plantations are restricted to areas zoned for such use. Production forests can only be used for selective logging.