EoF News (PEKANBARU)— Eyes on the Forest published NASA’s FIRMS MODIS fire hotspots data and satellite images on its interactive map to allow easy monitoring of current and past fires in Sumatran concessions of the Sinar Mas Group/Asia Pulp & Paper and others.
Sinar Mas Group (SMG) and Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) last week denied publicly that their companies are involved in ongoing forest and land fires. Eyes on the Forest coalition said that media stunt by the giant company is ridiculous and hard to trust.
Eyes on the Forest today published a new animation it produced using MODIS True Color Terra images since 17 August 2015. The animation shows smokes coming out of Asia Pulp & Paper's own PT. Rimba Hutani Mas concession in South Sumatra.
Eyes on the Forest found two Landsat images showing fires in and around concessions of four Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) suppliers in peat areas in Jambi and South Sumatra provinces and heavy smokes from them.
Indonesia Police Headquarters named PT BMH as a suspect of forest fires in South Sumatra and it is the second time the timber supplier of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) convicted to the crime following its legal status in February last year.
Eyes on the Forest says APRIL unable to provide evidence that PT Adindo Hutani Lestari (AHL) in North Kalimantan, an APRIL timber supplier, did not clear natural forest after 15 May, the day when APRIL pledged to halt its forest clearing in its modified Sustainable Forest Management Policy. EoF had reported this moratorium violation on 22 June.
NGOs in West Kalimantan analyzed that 217 fires hotspots detected by NASA Firms Eosdis during 28 June – 6 July 2015. 124 out of 217 hotspots or 57 percent was found in palm oil concessions and by districts, Kubu Raya is the most area hit by fires with 81 and followed by Ketapang and Sambas with 44 and 36 respectively.
A supplier of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) in North Kalimantan cleared natural forest on peatland in violation of APRIL’s recently launched 2nd version of the Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP).
Analysis by Eyes on the Forest coalition finds that Bengkalis district hit the most fire hotspots during March 2015 and PT Riau Rokan Lestari (RRL), a non-affiliated timber supplier concession got the most along with APRIL-affiliated PT Sumatera Riang Lestari (SRL).
Fires hotspots still haunt Riau province as in recent week there were 114 fire hotspots that analyzed by Eyes on the Forest based on NASA Firms EOSDIS Data, and Bengkalis district still the area mostly suffered by fires with 62 hotspots.
The President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, accompanied by the Minister of Forestry and Environment Siti Nurbaya, came to Riau province last week to monitor the burned forest areas that caused haze in Sungai Tohor village, Meranti Islands District, media reported.
Field investigator team set up by Ministry of Environment (MoE) found strong evidences of the involvement of 23 plantations and industrial timber plantation (HTI) companies of a total of 43 firms investigated in forest and land fires case which had caused severe haze in the beginning of this year, media reported.
A number of environmental communities and organizations participated in ‘Melawan Asap’ (Fighting against Smoke) action and made speech along their protest in the front of Zapin Monument and Riau Governor Office, Pekanbaru, on Monday (10/3). On this seventeenth ‘anniversary’ of Riau fires and smog disaster, they demanded immediate and serious handling from the central government and the provincial government of Riau.
The second week of month showed the most fire hotspots found in Riau province since fires and haze returned from January. There are total 1605 hotspots detected accumulatively in the province based on NASA Modis Fire monitoring in period of 13-19 February.
As the man-made catastrophe of forest fire and haze returns to Riau, citizens of Pelalawan have to leave their homes and be on the alert to prevent fire coming to their remaining land, while some students fainted as schools closed in the district and the province’s capital city.
Fires hotspots likely got its peak this month on Tuesday (27 August) seeing the 5th largest number of hotspots (758) recorded since 1 June this year, as 26% of that found inside the Tesso Nilo complex.
Last month’s Riau forest fire catastrophe apparently comes to re-occur in this month. Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) of Pekanbaru recorded a significant increase on the numbers of hotspots detected in Riau Province in the last five days which reached to 230 hotspots.
Sumatra’s Riau province is suffering Indonesia’s worst fire season in recent years with serious smoke choking the region and neighboring Singapore and southern Malaysia. Eyes on the Forest has been tracking forest and land cover change and those who drive it in Riau since the early 1990s.
A new analysis by Eyes on the Forest (EoF) finds that the “forest conservation policy” published in February by one of the world’s largest pulp and paper producers, the Sinar Mas Group’s Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), appears to be yet another attempt to hide the vast deforestation and damages.
Satellite data for the first six months of 2009 show that Riau Province had the largest number of fire “hotspots” in Indonesia: 4,782. And nearly one-quarter of the Riau fires happened within concessions affiliated with Sinar Mas Group’s Asia Pulp & Paper company.
Several NGOs are calling on the Government to stop granting concessions for conversion and land clearing on peatlands, citing data that shows the major factor inciting this year's forest fires is forest conversion, mainly on peat soil sites.