EoF investigation: APRIL's PT SRL destroys Ramin habitat

EoF News / 01 March 2011
Excavator operates in PT SRL block Rupat

PT Sumatera Riang Lestari (SRL) is an affiliated company to Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL).Through annual cutting approval, called formally Annual Work Plan (RKT) in 2009, particularly PT SRL Blok Rupat alone was granted 2889 hectares. 

In 2009, The Ministry of Forestry's Director of Development of Forest Plantation issued the Decree number 02/BPHT-3/2009 dated 23 March 2009 which approved permits of Industrial Timber Plantation for PT SRL in Riau covering 20,553 hectares of natural forest. This concession enables conversion to generate natural forest wood amount to 352,727 cubic meter.Â

Eyes on the Forest investigation series conducted in 2009 and 2010 have found that approximately 2000 hectares of natural forest has been felled in the area where PT SRL operates.

The Indonesian Government has banned all products derived from Ramin tree and its processed product, despite it is not used for paper production.

The loss of Ramin habitat as the company just set aside small-diameter trees --as EoF investigation team found-- should need further action by the authority whether Ramin trees are clear-cut and the CITES Red List breached by PT Sumatera Riang Lestari, an affiliated company to APRIL.

Rupat Island is one of islands in Riau Province which is located in Eastern plains of Sumatera.With its 15-square kilometer size, Pulau Rupat is considered as a small island that must be protected and requires sustainable development and environmental-friendly condition in order to provide prosperity to its 30,000 population.

Devastating impact made by development should be avoided. It’s a highly strategic island that should be preserved as it’s bordered to neighboring Malaysia.

Natural forest clearing by PT SRL in Rupat Island threatened mangrove and peat ecosystem which also incites carbon emission and global climate.

PT SRL pulpwood plantation expansion obviously will also marginalize indigenous Suku Akit tribe who have been dwelling in Rupat island for centuries. Clear-cutting forest and draining peatlands will affect much to livelihoods of Akit Tribe community who rely upon natural resources such as forest and river.

Devastating ecosystem in the island due to peat drainage and forest clearance is obviously a misery that should be swallowed by Akit Tribe community.

Raptor Indonesia in 2004 had confirmed that Rupat Island is important area called the "bottleneck site" migration of certain bird species (especially Pernis ptilorhynchus orientalis or Oriental honey buzzard) and must be protected and conserved for the continuation of migration of species in the area.

In March 2010, at least 2000 families had signed a petition to the Government to protest the pulpwood plantation expansion of PT SRL, an affiliated company to APRIL, as they fear the operation would cause devastating impact to the small island and misery to people living there.

EoF called on PT SRL and APRIL to stop its operation as well as natural forest clear-cutting and peat canal drainage as the activities incite ecological, climate, social and economic impacts.

Download EoF Report on APRIL's PT SRL in Rupat clears forest