Pekanbaru’s grand forest park still converted into plantation

EoF News / 17 November 2006

Pekanbaru (EoF News) -- Despite Minister of Forestry and Riau Governor have ordered all related sides to reforest grand forest park of Syarief Kasim in Pekanbaru, in August this year, thousand hectares of oil palm plantation are still planted.

Around 4,000 hectares out of the 6,170 hectares forest park was converted into oil palm plantation which controlled by businessmen and communities, reported this week.

The forest park stretches over Pekanbaru, Siak regency and Kampar regency. Besides, illegal encroachment by clearcutting trees inside the grand forest park still occur.

Zulfahmi of Jikalahari, a Riau NGOs networking, said his investigator team has found oil palm trees replanted by their owners. Meanwhile, monitoring from authoritative Riau Forestry Service was insufficient to solve the problem, he said.

Zulfahmi urged the forestry service to monitor and supervise the area that illegally planted by oil palm and its timber was encroached by perpetrators. “The pledge of ‘Indonesia plants’ that officiated by Ministry of Forestry and Riau Governor seems in vain,” he added.

The minister has told owners of illegal oil palm plantations to abandon the forest park due to it is plotted for conservation.  

Meanwhile, deputy of forestry service, Sudirno, said his office keeps monitoring and supervision inside the grand forest park. “But if there are residents who keep planting, it is all beyond our knowledge,” he told

Early this month, the Riau Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD) visited the forest park where it urged PT Arara Abadi, a partner of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), to hand over the 600-hectare concession of Industrial Timber Plantation inside the forest park. The company should be consistent to handover the area for conservation, he said.

Mukti Sunjaya of DPRD’s Commission B told the press that the area held by Arara Abadi might be exploited and now still planted with acacia for the company’s need. The legislators also found a road access developed for the company’s acacia plantation.

DPRD called on the provincial government to conduct investigation over PT Arara Abadi’s concession re-utilization and to preserve the entire area of the grand forest park that encroached by large-scale businessmen and communities.