National | Updated 02 June 2019

Peatland Clearing Ban

Siti Nurbaya
Minister of Environment and Forestry
Category
Review on Business Permit
Status
Ongoing
Pledge Description

The Minister of the Environment and Forestry issued a circular to companies holding Forest Timber Product Exploitation Permits in Industrial Plantation Forest (IUPHHK-HTI), in Natural Forest (IUPHHK-HA) and in Ecosystem Restoration Concessions (IUPHHK-RE) and business concession permit holders.

The Peatland Clearing Ban circular explains that:

  1. It is no longer permitted to clear or exploit peatlands for forestry or plantation business development.
  2. The government will stipulate preservation and cultivation zones in peatland areas.
  3. Cultivated peatland management must utilize ecohydro technology based on hydrological units. Ecohydro technology is a water management system that adjusts water levels in accordance with environmental needs and seasons.
  4. Companies holding IUPHHK-HTI, IUPHHK-HA, IUPHHK-RE or plantation business permits must revise and improve their forestry and plantation Business Work Plan (RKU) and Annual Work Plan (RKT).
  5. Permit-holding companies must improve security processes and take preventative measures to reduce forest and land fire risks.
TAMPILKAN SEMUA Deskripsi komitmen
TODAY
02 June
2019
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23 September
2018
Local Network Indicated Incorrect Examination Report on Peatland in PT. Rimbun Sawit Papua Area
By Simpul Jaringan Pantau Gambut Papua

Pantau Gambut, through its local network in Papua (Panah Papua), had identified peatland clearing which was caused by...


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06 September
2018
127 HTI and HGU Permit Holders Submit Peatland Ecosystem Recovery Plans
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

As of August 2018, 127 HTI companies and palm oil plantations with HGU permits submitted peatland ecosystem recovery...


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08 July
2018
Despite the Ban, Peatland Clearing Continues
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

Although the government has banned peatland clearing and exploitation, some reports indicate that these activities are...


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05 March
2018
The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Approves Company Land Swaps
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Bambang Hendroyono stated that 68 out of 97 HTI...


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01 February
2018
The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Says 125 Companies Are Committed to Restoring Peatlands by 2026
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

As many as 125 palm oil and pulp companies committed to restoring a total of 14,000 square kilometers of degraded...


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22 January
2018
The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Accepts PT RAPP’s RKU
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

PT RAPP has obtained approval for their 2017–2026 RKUPHHK per Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Decision...


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21 December
2017
Judge Rejects the Lawsuit Filed by PT RAPP, Owned by Sukanto Tanoto
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26 November
2017
PT RAPP’s Sues the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry
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PT RAPP filed a lawsuit in the State Administrative Court in Jakarta to revoke Ministry of the Environment and Forestry...


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23 October
2017
The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Encourages PT RAPP to Fix their RKU
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

Of the 99 HTI companies required to, only 12 have fixed their RKU as mandated in Regulation No. 57/2016 on Peatland...


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22 October
2017
The Government Commits to Cracking Down on Policy Violations
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

Minister of the Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya stated that the rejection of PT RAPP’s revised RKU is an...


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15 August
2017
Forty-four Oil Palm Plantations Holding Land Cultivation Rights Permits (HGUs) Submit Peatland Ecosystem Recovery Plans
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As of August 2017, the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry had received peatland recovery plans from 44 HGUs,...


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27 July
2017
In Revised RKU Submissions, 99 HTIs Are Found Non-compliant
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22 March
2017
The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Symbolically Removes Acacia from PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP)’s Concession Area
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

In a symbolic move, the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry removed acacia newly-planted in peatlands within...


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08 February
2017
The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Emphasizes the Instruction to Remove Industrial Plantations from Peatlands
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry removed acacia plants from the HTI concession area of Sinar Mas...


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19 January
2016
The Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Issues a Policy on the Procedure for Addressing Burnt Land in IUPHHK-HTI Areas
By Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan

This regulation was issued as a follow-up to the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Circular Letter No....


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Challenge
  1. Permit monitoring in peatlands is not optimally implemented on the ground. Allegedly, this is due to institutional inefficiencies at both the national and regional levels. According to the Madani Foundation, there are at least:
    • 2.5 million hectares of peatland encroached by oil palm plantation permits

    • 2.1 million hectares of HTI concessions

    • 882,887 hectares of Forest Exploitation Right (HPH) concessions

    • 2,065 fires in concession areas from August–October 2015 (Greenpeace 2015)

  2. Institutional infrastructure, human resource capacities, budget allocations, and support from related ministries and institutions (including law enforcement officers) are insufficient to support program implementation and to fulfill government pledges.

  3. Regional governments tend to defend peatland exploitation in concession areas over peatland protection.

    The Regional Regulation Draft on Regional Spatial Plans in Riau Province which was ratified on 25 September 2017, states that only 21,625 hectares – 1.3% of peatlands – will be designated for protection. There are 1.2 billion hectares of forest area, which were likewise proposed for conversion into non-forest area. Based on Ministry of the Environment and Forestry data from 2014, forest areas in Riau cover ​​1,638,249 hectares. The majority of the region is occupied by palm oil companies with pending legal proceedings and ongoing land conflicts with local communities. The proposed regional regulation could legalize illegal plantations and result in the conversion of 1.6 million hectares of peatlands.

    On top of that, the governor of West Kalimantan wrote to President Joko Widodo to protest the implementation of Regulation No. 57/2016 on Peatland Management and Protection and Ministerial Regulation No. 17/2017 on HTI Development. The governor of West Kalimantan explained his objections to the two regulations, especially regarding water management in HTI areas. The reason for this is that there are 43 companies engaged in forestry, mainly HTIs, in West Kalimantan. In issuing permits, the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry has also referred to forest areas’ spatial planning. These companies have also been approved as environmentally acceptable according to relevant laws and regulations. According to the Central Kalimantan governor, the implementation of these new regulations will result in the retreat of investors, causing 20 thousand citizens to lose their jobs.

    These two regional government reactions weaken government efforts to restore 2 million hectares of peatlands. Most peatlands are located in concession areas, and if permitted to, permit holders will continue to dry and convert peatlands.

  4. On 2 October 2017, the Supreme Court issued Decision No. 49P/HUM/2017 granting the demands of some parties by revoking articles related to the land swap policy outlined in Ministerial Regulation No. 17/2017, especially article 8G. This does not eliminate the land swap policy in the context of peatland protection, because it is also covered in other regulations, including Ministerial Regulation 40/2017. The Supreme Court’s revocation of select articles in Ministerial Regulation No. 17/2017 does not necessarily revoke land swap provisions in Ministerial Regulation 40/2017. Therefore, the land swap policy will continue, although it may generate a range of problems.

    Several issues in relation with land swap arrangement in Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 include:

    • Unclear assessment criteria and procedures to determine the substitute land area
      Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 establishes a mechanism for technical verification and review of potential land swap areas, including social and environmental considerations. However, Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 does not define a detailed verification mechanism or criteria for substitute lands. Unclear regulations regarding standards and procedures for determining substitute land areas allow the Assessment and Monitoring Team significant discretion as technical verification executors. This creates risks of incorrect substitute land allocations and misappropriation of authority.

    • Weak mechanism to control environmental impacts in substitute land determination.
      Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 aims to minimize negative social and environmental impacts through documentation of environmental management and monitoring efforts. These documents provide a simple instrument to manage and monitor business activities without significantly impacting the environment or requiring environmental impact analysis. Whereas, Article  2 (b) of Ministry of Forestry Regulation No. 21/2014 juncto Ministry of the Environment Regulation No. 5/2012 states that IUPHHK-HTI forest areas greater than or equal to 5,000 hectares are categorized as business activity and have a corresponding obligation to monitor environmental impact. Without such stipulations in place, there is legal uncertainty and weakened environmental impact control, which could result in environmental damage during the implementation of land swaps

    • No mechanism for transparency or community participation
      Transparency and community participation in the implementation of the land swap policy have not been regulated by Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017. Land swaps fall under the authority of the Minister of the Environment and Forestry, with the assistance of the Assessment and Monitoring Team. Transparency and community participation in the process of land swaps are crucial for accountability and prevention of problems like overlapping lands, social conflicts, and environmental degradation for IUPHHK-HTI holders and local communities.

    • Disharmony among regulatory requirements for land swaps, regional spatial plans, or forest designations.
      Article 12 of Regulation No. 71/2014 on Peatland Ecosystem Protection and Management states that peat ecosystems that have been designated for protection or cultivation are also used in the preparation and review of spatial plans. In implementation, Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 states that if IUPHHK-HTI areas are found to contain peatlands, IUPHHK-HTI holders must adjust their areas to spatial planning specifications.

      This provision is different from the 1999 Forestry Regulation, which states that the determination of forest area zoning should consider spatial planning. It is also different from Regulation No. 15/2010 on the Implementation of Spatial Planning, which states that changes to forest area zoning are integrated in regional spatial plan changes and can be implemented before plans are set. This distinction creates ambiguity when zoning changes occur: Should the spatial regime adapt to the environmental regime, or should environmental adjustments be integrated with spatial adjustment?

TAMPILKAN SEMUA tantangan
National Solution Recommendations
  1. Permit monitoring in peatlands is not optimally implemented on the ground. Allegedly, this is due to institutional inefficiencies at both the national and regional levels. According to the Madani Foundation, there are at least:
    • 2.5 million hectares of peatland encroached by oil palm plantation permits

    • 2.1 million hectares of HTI concessions

    • 882,887 hectares of Forest Exploitation Right (HPH) concessions

    • 2,065 fires in concession areas from August–October 2015 (Greenpeace 2015)

  2. Institutional infrastructure, human resource capacities, budget allocations, and support from related ministries and institutions (including law enforcement officers) are insufficient to support program implementation and to fulfill government pledges.

  3. Regional governments tend to defend peatland exploitation in concession areas over peatland protection.

    The Regional Regulation Draft on Regional Spatial Plans in Riau Province which was ratified on 25 September 2017, states that only 21,625 hectares – 1.3% of peatlands – will be designated for protection. There are 1.2 billion hectares of forest area, which were likewise proposed for conversion into non-forest area. Based on Ministry of the Environment and Forestry data from 2014, forest areas in Riau cover ​​1,638,249 hectares. The majority of the region is occupied by palm oil companies with pending legal proceedings and ongoing land conflicts with local communities. The proposed regional regulation could legalize illegal plantations and result in the conversion of 1.6 million hectares of peatlands.

    On top of that, the governor of West Kalimantan wrote to President Joko Widodo to protest the implementation of Regulation No. 57/2016 on Peatland Management and Protection and Ministerial Regulation No. 17/2017 on HTI Development. The governor of West Kalimantan explained his objections to the two regulations, especially regarding water management in HTI areas. The reason for this is that there are 43 companies engaged in forestry, mainly HTIs, in West Kalimantan. In issuing permits, the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry has also referred to forest areas’ spatial planning. These companies have also been approved as environmentally acceptable according to relevant laws and regulations. According to the Central Kalimantan governor, the implementation of these new regulations will result in the retreat of investors, causing 20 thousand citizens to lose their jobs.

    These two regional government reactions weaken government efforts to restore 2 million hectares of peatlands. Most peatlands are located in concession areas, and if permitted to, permit holders will continue to dry and convert peatlands.

  4. On 2 October 2017, the Supreme Court issued Decision No. 49P/HUM/2017 granting the demands of some parties by revoking articles related to the land swap policy outlined in Ministerial Regulation No. 17/2017, especially article 8G. This does not eliminate the land swap policy in the context of peatland protection, because it is also covered in other regulations, including Ministerial Regulation 40/2017. The Supreme Court’s revocation of select articles in Ministerial Regulation No. 17/2017 does not necessarily revoke land swap provisions in Ministerial Regulation 40/2017. Therefore, the land swap policy will continue, although it may generate a range of problems.

    Several issues in relation with land swap arrangement in Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 include:

    • Unclear assessment criteria and procedures to determine the substitute land area
      Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 establishes a mechanism for technical verification and review of potential land swap areas, including social and environmental considerations. However, Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 does not define a detailed verification mechanism or criteria for substitute lands. Unclear regulations regarding standards and procedures for determining substitute land areas allow the Assessment and Monitoring Team significant discretion as technical verification executors. This creates risks of incorrect substitute land allocations and misappropriation of authority.

    • Weak mechanism to control environmental impacts in substitute land determination.
      Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 aims to minimize negative social and environmental impacts through documentation of environmental management and monitoring efforts. These documents provide a simple instrument to manage and monitor business activities without significantly impacting the environment or requiring environmental impact analysis. Whereas, Article  2 (b) of Ministry of Forestry Regulation No. 21/2014 juncto Ministry of the Environment Regulation No. 5/2012 states that IUPHHK-HTI forest areas greater than or equal to 5,000 hectares are categorized as business activity and have a corresponding obligation to monitor environmental impact. Without such stipulations in place, there is legal uncertainty and weakened environmental impact control, which could result in environmental damage during the implementation of land swaps

    • No mechanism for transparency or community participation
      Transparency and community participation in the implementation of the land swap policy have not been regulated by Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017. Land swaps fall under the authority of the Minister of the Environment and Forestry, with the assistance of the Assessment and Monitoring Team. Transparency and community participation in the process of land swaps are crucial for accountability and prevention of problems like overlapping lands, social conflicts, and environmental degradation for IUPHHK-HTI holders and local communities.

    • Disharmony among regulatory requirements for land swaps, regional spatial plans, or forest designations.
      Article 12 of Regulation No. 71/2014 on Peatland Ecosystem Protection and Management states that peat ecosystems that have been designated for protection or cultivation are also used in the preparation and review of spatial plans. In implementation, Ministerial Regulation No. 40/2017 states that if IUPHHK-HTI areas are found to contain peatlands, IUPHHK-HTI holders must adjust their areas to spatial planning specifications.

      This provision is different from the 1999 Forestry Regulation, which states that the determination of forest area zoning should consider spatial planning. It is also different from Regulation No. 15/2010 on the Implementation of Spatial Planning, which states that changes to forest area zoning are integrated in regional spatial plan changes and can be implemented before plans are set. This distinction creates ambiguity when zoning changes occur: Should the spatial regime adapt to the environmental regime, or should environmental adjustments be integrated with spatial adjustment?

TAMPILKAN SEMUA solusi