21 November 2014 / EoF Investigative Report
Press Release Mitra Insani & Telapak
PT RAPP Undermines Community Initiative to Manage Village Forest
Bogor, 31 August 2009. Despite support from Forestry Minister, the efforts of Teluk Binjai Village community are threatened by the expansion plan of Industrial Timber Plantation of PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP); therefore a number of local and national NGOs urge the government to revoke definitive permit of the plantation.
Since 2007, the villagers of Teluk Binjai in Pelalawan District Riau have been planning and developing a sustainable community‐based forest management, assisted by several NGOs in the area. Teluk Binjai is part of Kampar Peninsula, the biggest peat swamp forest left in Sumatera that is currently under threat from forest conversion to oil plam and timber plantation.
In mid July 2009, PT RAPP was granted a definitive permit to build industrial timber plantantion in a number of forest areas in Riau, including the forest in Teluk Binjai. When the villagers learned about this, they strongly opposed the granting of the permit.
"It is unsurprising that the villagers opposed the plan of RAPP, as they are now trying to manage the forest sustainably in accordance to Ministerial regulation No. 49/2008 concerning village forest," said Zainuri Hasyim, the director of Mitra Insani Foundation.
On August 3, 2009, the villagers of Teluk Binjai sent a letter to the Minister of Forestry stating their objection to the timber plantation plan in their village. They prefer to manage their forest themselves sustainably.
Following the letter, a meeting between the Minister of Forestry MS Kaban and representatives of Mitra Insani Foundation and Telapak Association was held on 20 August 2009. In that meeting Kaban expressed his support to the village forest initiative in Teluk Binjai. However, the Director General of Production Forest Hadi Daryanto said that it is difficult to revoke the definitive permit, thus it is unfavourable to the villagers of Teluk Binjai to realize their village forest.
Telapak Association, an organisation that is actively promoting community logging initiatives in Indonesia fully supports the villagers initiative, emphasizing that the government should undertake concrete efforts to develop community‐based forest management.
"We urge the Ministry of Forestry to revoke the definitive permit of PT RAPP plantation in Teluk Binjai. Otherwise the genuine intention of the government to conserve peat swamp forest ecosystem and promoting village forest is highly questionable," said Muhammad Yayat Afianto of Telapak Association.