Police vowed to continue aerial surveillance

EoF News / 01 August 2007

Pekanbaru (EoF News)-- Following his raid to an Asia Pulp Paper's subsidiary concession in Indragiri Hilir two weeks ago, Chief of Riau Police Brig.-Gen. Sutjiptadi pledged to conduct aerial observation as he believed the forestry companies clearcut the forests in remote area. At a discussion held by Walhi Riau in Pekanbaru Tuesday, the Chief of Riau Police said that he and his team has confiscated felled logs from natural forest in the concession of PT Citra Sumber Sejahtera, a partner pulpwood company of Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL).

The police alleged the company conducted illegal logging as its pulpwood plantation license is flaws. "We have confiscated logs and heavy machineries operated by PT CSS in Indragiri Hulu district used to commit illegal logging," Sutjiptadi told the discussion on illegal logging. The ongoing deforestation in Riau has caused the police to conduct surveillance on the ground as aerial observation found many pulp plantation sites clearcut wood from natural forests in remote areas. The timber companies preferred to clearcut forest in remote areas where public accesss to reach them is difficult, the chief said. Riau Police vowed to keep monitoring from the air to detect the forest clearcutting which not comply with existing laws and regulations. "We will do so hand by hand with all stakeholders," Sutjiptadi said. Meanwhile, Susanto Kurniawan, coordinator of Jikalahari, the NGOs network for Riau forest rescue, said that a solution is needed to minimize deforestation in the province. "The sustainable ecosystem will be extremely disconcerted due to severe deforestation occurs right now," Susanto said. Expansion by forestry companies to boost their production capacity played a role in deteriorating the deforestation, he added.

The workshop attended by Riau NGOs agreed to seek solution to reduce deforestation in the province by proposing logging moratorium. Despite this, it is needed thorough preparation to make it come true.