Pulpwood operating inside forest estate as legalised by a ministerial decree

EoF Investigative Report / 29 November 2018
Eyes on the Forest coalition conducted survey in HTI timber concession which its function changed from restricted production forest estate (HPT) to permanent production forest estate (HP). It aims at ensuring directly from the ground whether the forest estate change as cited from the ministerial decree SK 673/Menhut-II/2014 had been used by certain sides to legalise the industrial timber plantation license. EoF findings in September and October 2017 intended to answer such an indication that might happen. EoF surveyed 29 HTI licenses or equaled to 340,707 hectares that allegedly was shifted to permanent production forest HP from restricted production forest HPT that managed by both pulp giants:  Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) and Asia Pulp & Paper (APP/Sinar Mas Group).    

At least 29 industrial timber plantation HTI licenses of 340,707 hectares are partially shifted to permanent forest production from restricted production forest based on the Ministerial Decree number 673/Menhut-II/2014. By landscape category, these HTI concessions consist of: 13 concessions in Tesso Nilo-Rimbang Baling landscapes, 6 Kerumutan block, 3 concessions in Bukit Tigapuluh block, 6 concessions in Bengkalis district and Meranti islands district, and 1 concession in Rupat island. The 29 companies are affiliated to APRIL and APP/Sinar Mas. 

EoF findings confirmed strong indication that forest estate’s function was legalised by issuance of the Ministerial Decree number  673/2014, as the restricted production forest HPT status was replaced to permanent production forest in an attempt to allow the timber suppliers operate unstoppably despite their  questionable legality. EoF reckons that the shifting of land status that facilitated by the Ministerial Decree number 673/2014 allegedly breach the law and it is believed that the decree is just a tool to legalise the concessions who have operated for years in forbidden areas.   

EoF urges the Minister of Environment and Forestry to probe the concessions and take legal action against the pulpwood suppliers who developed timber plantation inside restricted production forest.