Palm fruit illegally grown inside critical wildlife areas continues to taint palm oil entering the supply chains of 24 global traders and brands who have made zero deforestation commitments, an Eyes on the Forest (EoF) report published today found. The protected areas lost to illegal palm oil plantations include some of the last habitats for critically endangered Sumatran elephants, tigers and orangutans in Indonesia.
PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), major concession of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), was found clearing natural forest in its concession of district/sector Ukui, Tesso Nilo landscape, Riau province.
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.
EoF warns today that purchasing screens need to be installed urgently at all transfer points in the chain-of-custody from the production of oil palm fruit (fresh fruit bunches/FFB) to the final product. Illegally produced FFB appears to enter national and global supply chains much too easily.
Joint military operation in Giam Siak Kecil (GSK) Biosphere Reserve, Bukit Batu, Bengkalis Riau, in late last month revealed the involvement of two former police chiefs, a high-ranking TNI-AU (air force), as well as a number of police and military service members and government officials on the encroachement of the internationally recognized protected area. The area is always burnt annually then converted to plantations, media reported.
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.
Three excavators owned by a supplier of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) , PT Rimba Lazuardi (RL), in Pelalawan District were burned by hundreds of local people on Sunday, July 7th 2013, following a land conflict between the company and local society amid intensifying tense since the last two months, media reported.
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 recent estimation by WWF- Indonesia shows that there have been over 100 dead elephants found in Riau, Sumatra, since 2004, where truly law enforcement is needed urgently, the environmental NGO said last week.
Fifteen wild Sumatran elephants had been killed in Riau province since January this year following the deaths of three female elephants in Tesso Nilo forest block as officials believed they were poisoned.
Another wild Sumatran elephant was found dead in Tesso Nilo National Park, in Riau Province, increasing the dead toll to six elephants in recent three months. The latest elephant was found dead in Sungai Tapa near the Park’s Flying Squad trained elephants camp on 31 May, reports said.
Asia Pulp and Paper is still clearcutting tropical rainforest as realities found by Eyes on the Forest investigation in the company’s subsidiary, PT Arara Abadi of district Nilo, in Tesso Nilo forest block, Sumatra’s Riau Province.