Pulau Island farmers are threatening to immolate themselves after the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry has ignored their request to stop a part of their island from being converted into eucalyptus plantations by PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper. A letter from the farmers, who are members of the Riau Farmer Union, to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received no response, and the activists say 10 of them will travel to the presidential palace in Jakarta on June 25 and burn themselves alive in protest.
Indonesian scholar Sudarsono Soedomo of the Bogor Agricultural University attacked President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s speech at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, which focused on sustainable growth and equity. Soedomo said the presidential speech looked good in concept, but Yudhoyono’s idea to reduce carbon emission by 26 percent by 2020 has no real policy. According to Soedomo, millions of indigenous people and local communities suffer because of what Yudhoyono calls “sustainable growth” due to natural resource conflict and land issues.
Coral reefs have some of the same functions as the forests: they provide livelihoods for local communities, and feed the creatures of the sea. To help mitigate global coral reef loss, some scientists are working on solution to re-grow reefs. One method is called “Biorock,” which was developed by Wolf Hilbertz and Tom Goreau in mid 70s. They found that if we put low electric power in the sea, the reefs will grow five times faster than they naturally would. Now Indonesia is the country with the biggest biorock project.
Since 2000 Prigi Arisandi, an environmental activist in Surabaya, has inspired thousands of people to become advocates for river protection. He created the first experiential environmental education program in the region, educating the public through river tours that bring children and local residents closer to the Surabaya River’s rich biodiversity as well as its devastating pollution. Arisandi’s River Detection Program, now in more than 50 schools, teaches children how to monitor the river’s water quality and report their findings to the government. Ecoton has since developed a national school network for river protection that promotes student participation in water quality monitoring and is partnering with the East Java Provincial Education Agency to introduce environmental curricula in schools across the province.
A number of hot spots in Riau forest, Sumatra are now turning into forest fires. As a result, heavy smoke has covered a number of areas in the province. In addition to disrupting the local communities, some flights were disrupted by smog. The quality of the air inhaled by humans also fell far short of healthy thresholds. Yesterday, Meteorology and Geophysics (BMKG) Pekanbaru Station, reported that there were a total of 27 hotspots surrounding Riau. Most hot spots–seven–are in the District of Rohil, five points in Pelalawan, Inhil four points, Kampar and Inhu each of them three points. While Rohul and Bengkalis each have two points and Kuansing has one point.
Land conflict is not only occurring in Indonesia’s rich natural resources areas, such as Sumatra and Kalimantan, but is also still occurring in Java. Potential conflicts of tenure on this island has been grown to 92 000 hectares this year, according to the Director of Perhutai, Bambang Sukmananto. Land conflict cases occurred in a number of tenure-prone forest areas managed by state-owned enterprise, PT Perhutani, such as Cilacap, Boyolali, Blitar, Malang, Kraksaan, Lumajang, Bondowoso, Jember, Bogor, and Indramayu. Bambang told Bisnis.com thate conflict will continue to occur if acquisitions and asset inventory are not resolved.
Currently, India is the largest importer of palm oil from Indonesia, followed by China and the EU. India imports 5.8 million metric tons of palm oil from Indonesia every year out of its total imports of 7.2 million metric tons. However, unfortunately, India remains uncommitted to purchasing palm oil from environmentally-friendly and responsible companies in Indonesia. The latest report from Greenpeace said that India also contributed to the destruction of the Indonesian forest by buying palm oil products from unsustainable business like PT Duta Palma.