In June 2020, Jikalahari NGOs network found a plan of natural forest clearing by a supplier of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), PT Nusa Prima Manunggal (NPM). Jikalahari revealed that the 1,565-hectares forest clearing’s plan was located in Desa Pulau Padang, Kuantan Singingi district.
“APRIL Group takes opportunity to use Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) situation amid the people and Government are fighting against the pandemic as it clears and degrades peat and natural forest,” said Okto Yugo Setiyo, Deputy Coordinator of Jikalahari.
In a brief report published by Jikalahari on 26 August 2020, the planning to clear natural forest is written in document of environmental management effort – environmental monitoring (UKL-UPL) of Koperasi Koto Intuok (village’s cooperatives) who collaborate with PT NPM through a permit of Communal Forestry (Hutan Kemasyarakatan, HKm) of Koto Intuok.
The head of village said the concept of HKm was not to degrade forest, while the cooperatives of Koperasi Koto Intuak planned to source mixed tropical hardwood and destroy natural forest which become buffer zone of Bukit Rimbang Bukit Baling wildlife reserve.
Community of Desa Pulau Padang held a meeting on 18 June 2020 and they rejected the permit of Hkm communal forest due to the Koto Intuok cooperatives were dominated by people outside the village. The permit is considered to destroy natural forest threatening Bukit Rimbang Bukit Baling wildlife reserve.
Based on publication by Eyes on the Forest, PT Nusa Prima Manunggal allegedly burned down an area of 100 hectares in September 2015 forest fires for land clearing and other use beyond acacia plantation. PT NPM was also listed as company allegedly conducting illegal logging that investigated by Riau police in 2007 before the case was dropped by the police in 2008.
Jikalahari reiterated that the clearance’s intention by APRIL’s supplier was against the law and APRIL’s Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) commitment that the company itself declared few years ago.
Jikalahari also recommended the Minister of Environment and Forestry to revise PIPIB (moratorium) indicative map 2020 by incorporating permit of communal forest of HKm Koperasi Koto Intuak to save natural forest.