Indonesia’s environmentalists call on the government to extend the ban on new palm oil plantations, which ends on Sunday. It has been estimated that 21 million hectares of rainforest will be destroyed otherwise. Experts mention the disappearance of rare species of animals or the formation of smog as the effects of forest burning and the expansion of palm oil cultivation.
According to the group Forest Watch Indonesia, despite the moratorium on establishing new plantations, deforestation related to the activities of palm oil producers is progressing. The group’s managing director, Mufti Fathul Barri, estimated that 21 million hectares of jungle were threatened with destruction if the ban is not extended.
Environmental organizations called on the government to extend the moratorium that ends on Sunday and to stop the expansion of oil palm cultivation.
Although the authorities have not issued new concessions since September 2018, environmental activists believe that three years is not enough to deal with many problems caused by irrational palm cultivation – said the director of the non-governmental organization Sawit Watch, quoted by Reuters on Thursday. , Inda Fatinaware. As she emphasized, the implementation of restrictions imposed by the authorities should also be more transparent.
In mid-2019, the government revealed that nearly 1.5 million hectares of land intended for plantations had been used contrary to the permits issued. The authorities have not made publicly available data on the owners of individual concessions, ordered by the Supreme Court two years earlier. Thanks to their publication of such information, citizens would know who exactly is responsible for specific plantations.
Production of palm oil in Indonesia
Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil. It is grown there on a total area of over 16 million hectares, and the plantation-related industry directly employs more than four million people. In 2004, the cultivation acreage was around five million hectares.
There is agreement among experts on sustainable development that its growth contributes to a number of problems. On their long list are progressive deforestation, recurring fires, the disappearance of rare animal species, including the endangered Sumatran and orangutan populations, and frequent violations of labor rights. The result of burning peat forests for plantations on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra is – apart from deforestation – the formation of smog often spreading to neighboring countries.
Main photo source: Shutterstock