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Jakarta Post

Riau biosphere reserve to regain illegally converted land

  • Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru   /   Thu, June 16 2016   /  07:26 am

The Siak regency administration in Riau is preparing for a massive police effort to combat encroachment on the Giam Siak Kecil (GSK) biosphere reserve and reclaim thousands of hectares for conservation. Large parts of the reserve have been turned into illegal residential complexes and oil palm plantations.

Siak Regent Syamsuar said encroachment on the biosphere had been happening since 2012. According to the latest data, 867 ha of the biosphere reserve has been turned into oil palm plantations and 28 houses have been erected, despite the area being out of bounds for conversion.

Over 2,384 ha of the biosphere reserve’s buffer zone has also been encroached upon, with 186 houses now erected in the area. Meanwhile in the transition zone, 1,300 ha have been turned into an open access area with 106 houses on it.

“Encroachers have created two residential areas and named...