Peatland Monitoring Methods in Concession AreasBy Pantau Gambut
To date, there has been no official public report on the progress in the restoration of damaged peatlands, especially in the companies' concession areas in Riau Province. The distribution of supervisory authority is one of the complex issues in encouraging and monitoring the progress of restoration in this area.
According to the Peat Restoration Agency (BRG) Decree No. 5 of 2016, the target for the restoration of damaged peatlands in the seven priority provinces is 2,492,510 hectares. 1.4 million hectares of that area are in the companies' concession areas and the rest are protected areas and unlicensed cultivation areas.
BRG is responsible for the supervision and facilitation of restoration in protected areas and unlicensed cultivation areas. Meanwhile, restoration in concession areas or licensed areas is the responsibility of the permit holder and is supervised by the permit issuer, i.e. the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Agrarian and Spatial Planning/National Land Agency, the Regional Government.
Although there is no official data from the authorized government agency, the Deputy for Education, Dissemination, Participation, and Partnership of BRG, Myrna A Safitri, said that at least 143,000 hectares or around 10% of the total restoration target in the concession area have been realized.
“143,000 hectares have been supervised in 2018. And this is not in Riau. It is in West Kalimantan and Jambi. Riau was just included this year. We are still calculating the area,” said Myrna recently.
Restoration of the 143,000 hectares of peatland was carried out in five companies. Three companies hold oil palm concessions with an area of about 28,000 hectares and two companies hold industrial forest (HTI) permits with an area of almost 115,000 hectares.
“Peatland restoration in concession areas is the responsibility of the concession holder. Most of them have received an order to restore the peatland from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. According to Presidential Decree 1/2016, the function of BRG is to provide supervision or technical assistance so that companies can carry out construction, operation, and maintenance properly,” Myrna continued.
For Riau, BRG’s supervision of peat restoration by corporations only started at the end of January 2019. This means that from 2016 to early January 2019, the restoration in the concession area was not supervised by BRG.
In Riau, the total peatland restoration target is 836,410 hectares. 726,820 hectares or 87% of that area is in the concession area of forestry and plantation companies. According to BRG data, 43,811 hectares are protected areas and 65,779 hectares are unlicensed cultivation areas.
Although there is no official information on the progress of peatland restoration in Riau, the Head of BRG Nazir Foead stated that restoration in protected areas and unlicensed areas has reached 77,000 hectares.
He noted that although the restoration is being carried out, they could not confirm the effectiveness of the wetting activity and the progress. "We are still waiting for the report and supervision to know the progress and effectiveness," he continued.
BRG must be careful in their supervision because some companies already have their own guidelines and these guidelines must be in sync with the agreed directions.
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