Press Release Forest Watch Indonesia - Telapak
Indonesian Ecolabel Institute Must Stop Issuing Sustainable Management of Forest Estates Certificates to Industrial Timber Estate
Bogor, 9 February 2009. Two national NGOs, Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) and Telapak urged Indonesian Ecolabel Institute (LEI) today to stop issuing Sustainable Management of Forest Estate (PHTL) to Industrial Timber Estate (HTI) that convert natural forest or open up peat ecosystem during establishment of the estate.
LEI that has just concluded its second congress has issued PHTL certification to two HTI companies, PT RAPP in Riau and PT. WKS in Jambi. Both companies converted natural forests into industrial timber plantation and some of their concession area built on peat ecosystems.
Wirendro Sumargo, Executive Director of FWI said, “ LEI PHTL certification only looks at how the timber estates are managed sustainably during their operations, without considering ecological impacts of forest conversions, especially those in peat ecosystems. Industrial timber estates are built by converting natural forests into monocultured timber estates, this is clearly against the principles of sustainable forest management.
”The government has issued several criteria for timber estate development; it has to be built on barren land or land without forest cover (underbrush, grassland or bare land). In reality, a lot of timber estates were established on logged-over area in productive forests or even in virgin forests.
In 2008, the government again issued 18 new industrial timber estate permits, one of which is given to PT Semesta Inti Selaras, a subsidiary of Medco Group. This company has got a permit to convert over than a quarter million hectares of forests in Papua, a big proportion of which according to Telapak analysis is still in good condition.
“ Establishing industrial timber estate on natural forest and peat ecosystem means ignoring the risks of deforestation, forest fires, social conflicts and climate change. PHTL certification must be halted until there is a guarantee that industrial timber estate will not be allocated on productive natural forest and peat ecosystem!” Wirendro said. Meanwhile Husnaeni Nugroho, forest campaigner of Telapak added, “ Industrial Timber Estate certification like the ones in Sumatera is a misleading eco-label. LEI must stop this scheme or the forests in Papua will suffer from great risks associated with forest conversion.”