The Jakarta Post
A report has revealed that Golden Agri Resources (GAR), the Sinarmas Group's oil palm business, is expanding its oil palm plantations in more than 20,000 hectares of forests in Papua. The expansion permit was obtained after the forests were removed from the government's moratorium map on primary forests, the report says.
The report titled 'What are Golden Agri's plans for its new palm oil concession in Papua's forests?', by Greenomics Indonesia, said that at the end of July 2012, GAR, the world's second-largest oil palm business group, obtained a permit for the release of 20,143.30 hectares of forests in Jayapura regency that it proposed during the period of 2008-2010.
Greenomics Indonesia executive director Elfian Effendi said GAR obtained the forest release principle permit from the Forestry Ministry in March 2011, or one month after the launch of the company's Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), which states that it would not carry out land clearing operations in High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) areas.
The principle permit could not be followed up on because the forests were designated as areas that were subject to the government's moratorium under President Instruction (Inpres) No.10/2011 on forests moratorium on May 20, 2011, he went on.
'It was later found, however, that the forest areas have been removed from the first revised moratorium map issued by the Forestry Ministry in November 2011,' said Elfian in a press statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
Forestry Ministry data from 2011 said that 97 percent of the areas released for GAR's oil palm plantations were forest covered, comprising more than 15,000 hectares of primary forests and 4,500 hectares of secondary forests. The remaining 549 hectares were oil palm plantations.
'This is interesting because, in fact, there were already 549 hectares of oil palm plantations in the areas even before the forest release permit was issued,' said Elfian. (ebf)