Illegal Logging Sumatra Press release WHALI
PRESS RELEASE FOREST RESCUE ALLIANCE, RIAU STRONG INDICATIONS THAT PT IKPP PULP MILL, PERAWANG RIAU, RECEIVED ILLEGAL WOOD IN JULY 2004
A huge raw material deficit in the pulp and paper industry is triggering illegal practices in Indonesia’s ever-depleting forest stock. Forest crime involves bureaucrats, business people, law enforcement officers, politicians and even community workers, so is hard to detect, let alone curb. What’s more, it’s costing Indonesia an estimated 85 billion rupiah (around US$9.26m) a day (Inform, 2004).
Two of Indonesia’s seven pulp and paper companies are located in Riau province, Sumatra. These two companies together have an annual pulp production capacity of 3.7 million air-dry tons and need about 17 million ton of raw material from natural forest each year. The two pulp and paper companies have to source about 70% of their annual pulpwood supply from the natural forest because their acacia plantations do not produce enough plantation wood to fulfill their annual raw material demands.
Raw material supply sourcing from natural timber also threatens Riau province’s peat swamp areas. Peatland is destroyed by several small rivers which have become transport routes, causing an increase in acidity. In Riau, some 129,000 ha of peat swamps have been converted to acacia plantations, bringing the total to more than 245,000 ha. However, the natural characteristics of peat swamps cannot be altered: they cannot restrain land water, and this land conversion is causing sea water to infiltrate the area (Position Paper Walhi: Pulp and Paper Industry in Indonesia: Growing Disaster, 2004). Because of its concern about forest degradation in Riau province, the Forest Rescue Alliance Network (Jikalahari), WALHI Riau and Non-Government Organization Association have formed the Forest Rescue Alliance Riau (FRAR). This alliance has been established as a working group forum to save Riau’s forests from destruction. The alliance has already investigated, monitored and surveyed illegal logging activities – including delivering illegal logs to fulfill the raw material requirements of the pulp and paper industry – and the findings are disturbing.
FRAR is focusing on rescuing the last remaining natural forest in Riau province, which includes the protected forests in wildlife sanctuaries and the National Park. FRAR’s special Anti-Illegal Logging Working Group monitored two sites – the Tesso Nilo proposed National Park and the Sultan Syarif Qasim Protected Forest. The Tesso Nilo forest area is the largest remaining lowland forest in Sumatra. It is home to extraordinarily rich biodiversity, including the endangered Sumatran elephant and the Sumatran tiger. The area requires urgent attention if this highly endangered wildlife and habitat is to be saved for future generations. The Riau Regional Government has proposed this area as a Sumatran Elephant Conservation Area. The Department of Forestry has responded positively and has gazetted phase I of the Tesso Nilo National Park, which covers around 38,576 ha of land formerly owned by HPH PT Inhutani IV (ex-PT Dwi Marta). This was done on 19 July 2004 under decree No. 255/Menhut-II/2004, which regulates any change from limited production forest areas in the 38,576 ha Tesso Nilo forest area. This is destined to become the Tesso Nilo National Park. Findings In the investigation conducted between 11 and 13 July 2004, the FRAR team found the following: 1. On 12 July 2004, we found one illegal loggers group in the Tesso Nilo National Park proposed area. This was operated by a collaboration between Smy village in the district of Kampar and various influential people with the initials ED, KB, JN and SDH.
2. Our investigator tracked the movement of wood deliveries and found that harvested wood chips were delivered to PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper in Perawang, Riau. ED’s group: activity Time ED’s group was seen conducting this activity on 13 June 2004. The time was confirmed by our investigator at the logging site. Location ED’s group conducted these logging activities in PT Hutani Sola Lestari concession (Tesso Nilo National Park Phase II proposed areas) at the coordinate point S.00 01 14.7. E 101 30 49.0 (see figures 1 and 2 of the report). Equipment ED’s group used two excavators, two bulldozers, one 4-wheel drive Hiline pick-up (license plate number BM 8745 LV), three 4-wheel drive Taft Rocky cars (license plate numbers BM 1828 AD, BM 1812 AE, and BK 45 YC), 11 logging trucks (license plate numbers BM 8108 LV, BM 9139 LA, BM 8664 AD, BM 9660 AC, BM 9203 SA, BM 9562 AA, B 9276 IO, BM 8405 AE, BM 9058 LA, B 9079 JP and BA 9947 JP).
1. There is a strong indication that PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper (IKPP) received illegal wood from these operations in the proposed Tesso Nilo National Park. a. There are strong indications that PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper (IKPP) committed a forest crime in violation of Article 50, Clause 3, Item f, Action no. 41 1999, which forbids receiving, purchasing, storing or owning a forest harvest that is identified as, or suspected of, coming illegally from forested areas or being illegally cut. b. For these offences, PT IKPP could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in jail and fined a maximum of Rp 5,000,000,000 (five billion rupiah – around US$545,000).
2. There are strong indications that the logging group (ED, JN, SDH and KB) committed forest crime in violation of Article 50, Clause 3, which forbids encroaching upon forest areas without permission from the relevant authority; selling, storing or owning a forest harvest that is identified as, or suspected of, being illegally taken or collected from forest areas; or delivering, possessing or owning a forest harvest without a permit for forest harvesting. For these offences, a maximum 10-year jail sentence and maximum fine of Rp. 5,000,000,000 (five billion rupiah – around US$545,000) applies. Recommended action 1. Forest Rescue Alliance Riau calls upon PT IKPP to check and control its raw material sources and stop purchasing all illegal wood, but especially that derived from Tesso Nilo. 2. Forest Rescue Alliance Riau calls upon the Riau Provincial Forestry Department and the Riau Police Department to follow up the findings of this report and prosecute all parties involved in these illegal logging and wood trade operations. This report could be used as evidence in the legal process.
Pekanbaru, 14 September 2004
The forest Rescue Alliance Riau (FRAR) RULLY SYUMANDA ZULFAHMI JOHNY S.MUNDUNG ED WALHI RIAU JIKALAHARI ` ASOSIASI ORNOP SEC.GEN. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WALHI Riau Jln. Amal No 31 Pekanbaru Propinsi Riau - Indonesia Ph/Fax +62761 33716/46676 emailto: firstname.lastname@example.org