Monday, 18 February 2008

Ministry Threatens To Revoke 21 Forestry Licences

Personal note to readers not familar with the
government of Indonesia.
Basically, I never believe a word they say.
Much better to wait and see what they 'do' rather
than place trust in what they say, particulary the
Minister of Forestry.

Ministry Threatens To Revoke 21 Forest Licences
The Jakarta Post - February 15, 2008
By Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta

The government threatened Thursday to revoke licenses of 21 natural forest concession holders for their failure to meet requirements in sustaining their forest estates.Forestry Minister Malam Sambat Kaban said among 40 forest concession holders that underwent a sustainable operations audit last year, only 19 companies met the standards.

"I promise I will take firm steps, including to revoke the licenses of bad concession holders, so you don't need to lobby other officials to have your licenses extended," Kaban said to a number of forest concessionaires.

He refused to identify the bad concession holders. Forest Protection and Natural Conservation director general Soenaryo said the companies operated in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua. The companies have six months from now to improve, otherwise their licenses will be revoked, Kaban said.

The ministry commended 19 forestry companies, seven of them for good performance, while the remaining 12 were considered "moderate". As of 2007, the office had audited 143 concession holders to check whether companies managed forests sustainably, Kaban said. "Only 48 of the forest concessions, controlling 4.5 hectares of land each, met the requirements," he said.

The audit was conducted by the Independent Verification Institute (LPI) and funded by the government. The move to revoke licenses is part of the ministry's attempts to protect Indonesia's natural forests which have been put at risk due to illegal logging and overexploitation.

Kaban said the ministry expected to audit 61 forest concessions this year. "Forestry is a very promising business if you can manage your estate sustainably. We are considering incentives for companies that preserve the forest," he said. In 2003, the government revoked 13 concession licenses that controlled a total of 1.5 million hectares of forest, for poorly maintained forest estates.

The concessionaires included PT Maraga Daya Wood, PT Artika Optima Inti I, PT Bhara Induk Maluku and PT Bhara Induk Sumut. Also on Thursday, Kaban provided a license for PT Restorasi Ekosistem Indonesia (REKI), which will be responsible for the regeneration of 52,170 hectares of production forests in Musi Banyuasin, South Sumatra.

The company promised not to cut down any trees until the forest ecosystem was stable. "We will refrain from cutting down trees -- it may take us 100 years," Reki foundation head Yusup Chayani said. He said the company would be responsible for the protection of the forest from illegal logging and fires.

The company also pledged to empower local communities living near the forest, and would encourage them to protect the forest so they did not rely purely on wood products. "We will develop ecotourism in the area," he said, adding that his company would invest US$16.193 million over 20 years.