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Fires raging in peat forest at center of legal case in Indonesia

Fires in Tripa.
Fires in Tripa.

Fires are burning in a peat forest that is the center of contentious court case.

77 “hotspots” have been detected in Tripa peat swamp, including fires set in an oil palm concession granted by Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf to PT. Kallista Alam last August. The plantation is currently facing a legal challenge by local communities and a coalition of environmental groups known as WAHLI, which contend the concession was granted in an area of protected forest and further violated a moratorium on peatlands conversion.

The fires suggest that PT. Kallista Alam is moving ahead with forest clearing despite the legal challenge.

WAHLI fears that continued conversion, degradation, and fragmentation of Tripa will drive the ecosystem’s population of orangutans to extinction. Surveys have Tripa has one of the highest densities of critically endangered Sumatran Orangutans.

The fires will be the subject of a press conference taking place Wednesday in Jakarta.

Fires in Tripa.
Fires in Tripa.

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Palm oil case against ‘Green Governor’ in Indonesia heats up

(03/22/2012) Environmental activists have launched an urgent appeal calling for a ‘just decision’ in a court case that has pitted Aceh’s ‘Green Governor’ and palm oil developers against efforts to save endangered orangutans in a Sumatran peat forest. In letters directed toward judges weighing the case in Sumatra’s Aceh Provice, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the country’s REDD+ authority, the World Bank, and the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), a coalition of conservation groups says the outcome of the case could have substantial implications for efforts to conserve Indonesia’s remaining forests and peatlands.

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