Fires rage Tesso Nilo National Park

EoF News / 19 October 2006

Pekanbaru (EoF News) – At least 60 hectares of Tesso Nilo National Park is raged by fires amid raids conducted by the Riau Provincial Natural Conservation Agency (BKSDA) confiscating heavy equipments used by encroachers. Meanwhile, four people who were alleged as encroachers detained by the police of Pelalawan sector in selective logging concession of PT Siak Raya Timber.
Riau Deputy Governor Wan Abubakar visited the burned forest area on Tuesday and regretted the incident. Head of Riau conservation agency of region I, Nukman, said the Tesso Nilo forest was encroached and burned by perpetrators. On Saturday the size of burned forest was 20 hectares and increased by 60-70 ha on the following day. “Due to the land is very dry, the fires are inflammable and widespread quickly,” Nukman told the press.
BKSDA and Pelalawan police office detained four encroachers in Tesso Nilo forest and the police still question of their alleged involvement in such a crime. The location where the perpetrators detained is inside PT Siak Raya Timber concession which proposed to be Tesso Nilo National Park extension. The police also confiscated an excavator that allegedly used to encroach the forest area for months.
In responding to continuing forest fires in Riau province, a coalition of conservationist groups and NGOs called Geram Indonesia criticized conversion policy  set by the government which instigate rampant deforestation.   The coalition also urged the Indonesian government to restructure forest-based industry capacity particularly to pulp and paper industry throughout Indonesia.  The policy attracting large-scale land investment for oil palm plantation and industrial timber plantation is run with poor law enforcement and lack of conservation concern.