Monitoring the land covers on the areas of revoked forest concessions in Riau, West Kalimantan, and Papua

EoF Investigative Report / 19 December 2022

The Indonesian government has revoked 192 permits in the forestry sector covering a total area of 3,126,439 hectares on the grounds that most of the companies holding such permits have failed to comply with the provisions set forth in the permits, such as failure to carry out operational activities, inability to prepare work plans or abandonment of the areas. The decision was announced by President Joko Widodo in early 2022 and stipulated by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF/KLHK) in its Decree dated January 5, 2022, No. SK.01/MENLHK/SETJEN/KUM.1/1/2022. In addition, the government has also revoked the Land Cultivation Right (Hak Guna Usaha/HGU) of the abandoned plantations covering a total area of 34,448 hectares, as well as Mining Business Permits (Izin Usaha Pertambangan / IUP) of 2,078 companies engaging in mineral and coal mining sector for failure to comply with the requirements and the absence of any work plans.

The Eyes on the Forest Coalition responds to such Government Policy by preparing updated on-site factual information on the relevant areas on the basis of spatial analysis by its geospatial information system (GIS) team. The field observation is beneficial for giving recommendations to the Government and for providing information to the public regarding the up-to-date conditions in the areas subject to revocation or evaluation of permits. At random, EoF watched over several locations where the forest area concession permits had been revoked in the provinces of Riau, West Kalimantan, and Papua. Nonetheless, due to limited resources, only a few areas can be monitored by the team for their latest condition.

EoF asks the Government to restore and reinstate forest ecosystems that deserve to be protected for their High Conservation Values (including as protected wildlife habitats) while simultaneously protecting the local community's economy. EoF recommends the government to implement Forest Estate Management efforts by giving access to communities living inside and nearby the concession area towards various forest management programs (such as Social Forestry, Lands for Agrarian Reform Objects/TORA, or Conversions and Designation of Forest Functions).