Report: Bina Daya Bintara clearcuts natural forest in peat Libo block

EoF Investigative Report / 25 March 2006

This joint investigation by Eyes on the Forest and WWF Riau Program’s Forest Crime Unit (FCU) in March 2006 found that about 2000 hectares of natural forest in one of the three concessions of PT. Bina Daya Bintara has been clear-cut and wood was piled in the log yard about 500 meters from the logging area at 100o56’23” E, 01o13’15”N.

The logging operation in this concession, inside the Libo Forest Block, started in August 2005 according to the contractors. PT. Bina Daya Bintara is associated with Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings, Ltd. (APRIL). Eyes on the Forest and FCU observed logging activities by PT. Sumatra Riang Lestari, PT. Cahaya Indah Sumatera, PT. Cahaya Mestika and PT. PKS as contractors for PT. Bina Daya Bintara, then followed the wood from the log yard on 8 March until the receipt by PT. Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (PT. IKPP), pulp mill of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) in Riau on 9 March. 

The concession of PT. Bina Daya Bintara is inside Libo Forest Block and overlaps with the following areas (see Map 2):  Sumatra Elephant’s ranges reported in 2003, 1999 and 1985 by IUCN, WWF, BKSDA (see also EoF Interactive map on Elephants).  Peat soil depth of two to four meters (Wetlands International & Canadian International Development Agency 2003:  Map of Area of Peatland Distribution and Carbon Content 2002 Riau Province).

According to the Ministry of Forestry Decree No. SK. 101/Menhut-II/2004, natural forest areas located in peat moss forest area in upstream part of the river and swamp with a thickness of more than three meters should be maintained.  

Provincially protected “Protection Forest” (Hutan Lindung) as per the currently active Riau Land Use Planning (RTRWP 1994) should not be converted PT. Bina Daya Bintara has an IUPHHK-HT (Industrial Timber Plantation License) license issued by the Head of Siak District by Decree No 02/IUPHHK/I/2003 dated 18 January 2003. The area size of the concession where logging is happening is 6,193 hectares according to the Dinas Kehutanan Map.    

The Ministry of Forestry (MoF) is on the process of reviewing the validity of IUPHHK-HT issued by Governors or Heads of Districts (Decree No. P.03/Menhut-II/2005 dated 18 January 2005), therefore, PT. Bina Daya Bintara should immediately stop its logging activities and PT. IKPP should stop sourcing timber from such activities until written legal verification issued by the MoF.

Since 25 July 2006, Eyes on the Forest has  been calling on all companies who are clearcutting natural forests based on Industrial Timber Plantation Licenses (IUPHHK-HT) issued by Governors or Heads of Districts to immediately issue a moratorium on all such operations. The coalition also called on all companies sourcing timber from such activities to immediately stop all deliveries (see EoF PR on 25 July 2005). 

The guideline regarding to the legal verification of logging license, explicitly stated by President Instruction (Inpres) No. 4 of 2005 dated 18 March 2005 regulating the curbing illegal logging operations in the forest area and its distribution in the Republic of Indonesia. In the province level, this Presidential Instruction was supported by Riau Governor Decree No. Kpts.472/X/2005 dated 21 October 2005 regulating the forming of Curbing Illegal Logging Team and its distribution in the Riau Province. Both President and Riau Governor requested to conduct examination of the trade licenses related to timber forest product utilization issued, due to be verified and to revoke their licenses if it was violated the prevail laws and regulations.   

PT. Bina Daya Bintara should immediately stop logging operations to prevent further conversion of potential elephant habitat, further disturbance that may be contributing to driving elephants out of Libo Block, legally questionable clearing of forest in peat deeper than 3m, clearing of forest designated as Protection Forest in the currently active Provincial Land Use Plan and possible lack of approval by Ministry of Forestry of locally issued conversion license.

PT IKPP should not receive wood originating from this operation. Before any further forest clearing operations, PT. Bina Daya Bintara should arrange for an independent review of the legality of its license and the impact its forest clearing operations have on the local population of the endangered Sumatran elephant. For the APRIL and APP's reply, please read EoF News on April 13, 2006.