After BRGM's Life is ExtendedBy Kisworo Dwi Cahyono
NATIONAL INFO - A civil society coalition working on peat issues and monitoring the progress of peat restoration in seven provinces found that there are still concession companies that have not made any restoration efforts on their land. This fact was revealed by a researcher from Pantau Gambut, Agiel Prakoso, in a virtual discussion “Dissecting the Puzzle of Peat Ecosystem Protection in Concession Areas”, Friday, 28 May 2021. The event was held by the Indonesia Forest Forum, Pantau Gambut, and Tempo.co, and was broadcast live on Tempo's YouTube channel.
Observations were made at 1,222 sample points of restoration implementation on burned peat areas and peat conservation areas in 43 concession areas in seven provinces. Field verification was carried out by referring to the result of desktop analysis using satellite imagery to determine the result of initial indications of violations. 68.7 percent of the 482 field verification points in burned peat areas have become abandoned land without any restoration efforts, while the rest is planted with oil palm and acacia.
This is a violation of the applicable regulations. The Minister of Environment and Forestry Regulation No. 77 of 2015 Article 8 states that the holder of Business License for the Utilization of Timber Forest Products is prohibited from carrying out forest utilization activities in the burned work area. Moreover, the MoEF Regulation No. 16 of 2017 Article 14 also states that the rehabilitation of burned areas should be carried out through revegetation or replanting with native peat plants.
"We only know the data, but the facts on the ground and the implementation of the law are not disclosed to the public," said the Coordinator of Simpul Jaringan Pantau Gambut Riau, Romes Irawan Putra.
Therefore, Pantau Gambut recommends the need for a monitoring system that can show the progress of restoration in concession areas and encourages a more strict and transparent mechanism for monitoring the implementation of restoration orders. In addition, Pantau Gambut also encourages multi-stakeholder participation for the progress and sustainability of peat restoration.
In line with that, Head of the Forest Planning and Utilization Division of the Riau Province Environment and Forestry Office, Danang Kabul, said that a monitoring system is needed to ensure that all regulations are implemented. "Concession companies must have a single planning document and we need to confirm between the document and the implementation in the field," he said.
Adrianus Eryan from the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) said that there is a need for firmness in dealing with large corporations according to the applicable laws. It is also necessary to examine how legal instruments should apply for violations made by the community.
Responding to this, the Main Expert of Deputy I of the Presidential Staff Office, Trijoko Mohammad Solehoedin, said that every peat area must be protected. If it is used as cultivation area, the function of conservation area must be maintained.
“The role of the community in monitoring and social control is needed, but the role of the local government regarding conservation areas needs to be questioned as well. With the involvement of all parties, the government can enforce the law optimally on companies that do not implement it," he said.
To prevent forest and land fires, Chief Commissioner Kurniadi, Head of Sub-Directorate 3 of the Directorate of Specific Crimes of the National Police Criminal Investigation Unit, revealed that since 2019-2021 the Police have carried out mitigation activities, including disseminating information, building monitoring towers, canals, reservoirs, monitoring hotspots, and other innovations.
“But in law enforcement, the constraint is in determining the hotspots in peat areas. We have encouraged innovations, such as the CCTV monitoring system created by the Jambi Regional Police. We also encourage the innovation of better and more effective monitoring systems. Businesses are also encouraged to make these innovations," said the Chief Commissioner.(*)
*THIS ARTICLE WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON 29 MAY 2021 ON ONLINE MEDIA TEMPO.CO