Controversial logging concession covers over one third of Padang Island.
Twenty-eight Indonesians have taken the extreme measure of sewing their mouths shut in a protest turned hunger-strike against a forest concession on Padang Island, reports the Jakarta Globe. Around a hundred protesters, mostly natives of Padang Island, have camped outside the Indonesian Senate building since December 19th to protest a logging concession held by PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) on their island, which lies off the east coast of Sumatra.
The islanders say the 2009 concession occurs on customary lands, threatening both the environment and the small-scale agriculture on which they depend. Isnadi Esman, who has coordinated the protests, said that RAPP’s 41,000 hectare concession extended over 37 percent of the island’s total area.
For its part, RAPP said that if the islanders could prove the land was customary they would leave it. However, RAPP president commissioner, Tony Wenas, told the Jakarta Globe that he had doubts about the protests.
“For all we know, there are ex-cons among the protesters,” Wenas said.
Earlier this year, RAPP was accused of clearing high conservation value forest in Riau province on Sumatra. The forest was a known wildlife corridor for
Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae), listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, among other species. RAPP is a major supplier of timber to Asian Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL).
(12/21/2011) Asia Pulp & Paper (APP)’s supplier PT Ruas Utama Jaya has indeed cleared an area of forest it pledged to set aside as a tiger conservation reserve in Sumatra reports a legal analysis by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group. The Greenomics’ analysis supports allegations originally set forth in a report published last week by Eyes of the Forest, a coalition of green groups, and seems to refute a press release issued by APP that called the deforestation allegations ‘fiction’.
(12/21/2011) Indonesia exempted 3.6 million hectares of forests and peatlands from protected status under its two-year moratorium on forest concessions, according to a revised version of its moratorium map released near the end of climate talks in Durban. The new Indicative Map includes 10.7 million hectares of peatlands, down from 15.5 million hectares in the previous version of the map that defines areas off-limits for new concessions. Some 1.2 million hectares of previously unprotected “primary forest” has been added to the moratorium area, resulted in a net decline of 3.6 million hectares under the moratorium, according to analysis by Daemeter Consulting, an Indonesia-based forestry consultancy.
(12/13/2011) The Indonesian group Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has been the target of many NGOs for years due to its alleged negative impacts on tropical forests. This culminated in a spectacular campaign launched by Greenpeace in 2011 based on Ken “dumping” Barbie. The rationale was that toy brand Mattel was accused of using APP paper products linked to the clear-cutting of natural forests in the Indonesian archipelago. APP organized a counter-attack in the media with the daily publication of advertisements promoting its sustainable development practices. Journalists from all over the world were also invited to attend guided tours of APP concessions to demonstrate their conservation efforts, and a number of articles were subsequently written.