Clearance of rainforests for palm oil in Aceh Timur, Indonesia
Oil palm plantation firms are continuing to clear rainforest
in the Leuser ecosystem on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, in defiance of a
moratorium on deforestation.
Leuser lost 3,941 hectares (ha) of forest cover between January
and July 2017, according to local watchdog Forest, Nature and Environment of
Aceh (HAkA). The majority was cleared in the first six months of the year, with
1,093ha lost in June alone.
Supply chain analysis by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN)
has found that fruit from these plantations has been processed in the
refineries of multinational palm oil giants, including Wilmar International,
Golden-Agri-Resources and Musim Mas.
“We know from on-the-ground reports and satellite imagery
that the Leuser Ecosystem continues to be destroyed, despite national and
regional protections in place,” RAN forests communication manager Emma Rae
Lierley told Mongabay.
Forest clearance for oil palm development has been banned in
Leuser since June 2016, when the Acehnese government declared a moratorium on
The moratorium was stipulated in a
circular letter that ordered all oil palm firms to stop clearing
forests, even within areas they have already been licensed to develop, while
the government reviews their permits.