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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Oil palm expansion causing problems in C. Kalimantan: WALHI

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sun, September 29, 2013 | 08:04 pm

The illegal expansion of oil palm plantations carried out by palm oil giants in Forest Land Use Plan (TGHK)-based forest areas in Central Kalimantan has continued to spark disquiet among local residents.

Director of the Central Kalimantan chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), Arie Rompas, said in Jakarta on Sunday that as of December 2012, the expansion of palm oil plantation in Central Kalimantan had reached 4.1 million hectares, of which 3.8 million hectares were located in TGHK forest areas.

'€œOf 286 companies, only 84 companies have been declared '€˜clear and clean'€™ based on permit procedures,'€ he said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Arie said the changes in forests in Central Kalimantan occurred not only due to ongoing oil palm expansion but was also by illegal logging and partial land use change.

'€œThe activities which damage and threaten forests occur through manipulation of and intervention in the ongoing provincial spatial planning review process, particularly for forest areas, which has not yet been completed,'€ said Arie.

He was also concerned about land control by giant plantation groups in Central Kalimantan, including companies such as those which were operating in Kotawaringin Timur and Seruyan regencies.

Zenzi Suhadi, national forest campaigner for WALHI, said the police'€™s slow response in following up violations reported by authorities in both the forestry and plantation sectors had meant plantation and forestry-related conflicts continued to arise.

Zenzi said that as the police were unable to take a neutral stance, palm oil companies were encouraged to continue to exploit forests. This left plantation and forestry-related conflicts unresolved. (ebf)