Land cleared for palm plantations in Indonesia.
Analysis of plantations in Riau Province, Indonesia,
suggests that the majority of oil palm plantations are operating without
permission from the Ministry and Environment and Forestry.
The NGO coalition Eyes on the Forest assessed a sample of
plantations through desk-based research and field studies, and arrived at the
conclusion that more than 100,000 hectares of forest and land had been
exploited in “legally questionable” ways.
In a statement [Indonesian], Riko Kurniawan, Executive
Director of WALHI Riau, a member of the coalition, said that it was “incredible
to see” that many companies continued to operate, in spite of findings by a provincial parliamentary committee that hundreds of companies were
The coalition has called on the Ministry to cancel a decree,
issued in 2014, that it says has retrospectively legalised companies that had
occupied the “forest zone” illegally, by changing the designation of areas that
had been encroached upon by plantations.
“This cannot be allowed,” said Riko. “We ask the Ministry of
Environment and Forestry to investigate this corrupt practice, and cancel the
The coalition has urged the Ministry and Corruption
Eradication Commission to prosecute companies operating illegally, and also
urged the National Land Agency to conduct an evaluation of concessions issued
by the District Land Office in forest areas.
Eyes on the Forest’s analysis suggests that several major
plantation companies with advanced sustainability policies, and palm oil
entering global trade, are among those violating the law in Riau.