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Rhett A. Butler,
December 21, 2011


Indonesia exempted 3.6 million hectares of forests and peatlands from protected status under its two-year moratorium on forest concessions, according to a revised version of its moratorium map released near the end of climate talks in Durban.

The new Indicative Map includes 10.7 million hectares of peatlands, down from 15.5 million hectares in the previous version of the map that defines areas off-limits for new concessions. Some 1.2 million hectares of previously unprotected “primary forest” has been added to the moratorium area, resulted in a net decline of 3.6 million hectares under the moratorium, according to analysis by Daemeter Consulting, an Indonesia-based forestry consultancy.

Daemeter says some of the changes appear to reflect the “inclusion of pre-existing licenses not accounted for previously in the original map”. Most of the reclassified area is oil palm concessions on peatlands.

Under its self-imposed moratorium, Indonesia permits the Ministry of Forestry to revise the Indicative Map based on field evaluations. Daemeter says further reduction in moratorium area “is expected in future six-monthly revisions as increasing numbers of pre-existing licenses are registered”.

The changes partly reflect the chaotic state of Indonesia’s concession allocation system. Oil palm plantations are typically granted by local authorities, rather than the central government, making accounting more difficult than for timber concessions allocated by the Ministry of Forestry.

But Elfian Effendi of Greenomics said business interests may also be a factor.

A large portion of the remaining Tripa peat swamp forests photographed in August 2008. In the foreground are planted and unplanted oil palm blocks, with further blocks being drained before clearing. These blocks have now already been cleared. Image courtesy of Tim Koalisi Penyelematan Rawa Tripa.

“Forestry law and regulations in Indonesia are primarily designed to accommodate business interests, rather than accommodate the interests of our forests and forest communities,” Effendi told via email.

Indonesia’s forest moratorium is part of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s 7/26 initiative, which targets 7 percent annual economic growth and a 26 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 relative to business-as-usual. Reducing deforestation and peatlands degradation is the centerpiece of his push toward low carbon development.

However the president’s efforts have been fiercely opposed by politically-powerful interests in the forestry sector, which have lined up behind the Ministry of Forestry and other agencies against Yudhoyono’s REDD+ Task Force, the agency charged with reforming the country’s forest management practices and institutions. These interests successfully weakened the moratorium, which was originally supposed to include all forests but now has gaping loopholes and only applies to “primary forests” and peatlands. Pre-existing concessions in peatlands and old-growth forests are exempted.

Trouble in Tripa

Tripa peat swamp.
The location of the Tripa peat swamps (circled) on the west coast of Aceh province, northern Sumatra, showing rivers, forest cover in 1990, peat, and district boundaries. Tripa is the site of a controversial new oil palm plantation that has could put Aceh’s governor in prison. Image courtesy of Tim Koalisi Penyelematan Rawa Tripa, a coalition of community groups seeking legal action against the governor.

The new revision however does not let Aceh Province’s “green” governor off-the-hook for an oil palm plantation slated for development in the heart of Tripa peat swamp, an area that has the highest concentration of Sumatran orangutans. While the new Indicative Map shows an exemption for the 1,600-hectare plantation under the moratorium, groups contesting the development say it violates other regulations, including at least two laws and a prior commitment by Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf to impose his own moratorium in the province.

“The criminal report submitted to the Criminal Investigation Office at Police Headquarters is based on the facts and the consideration that the issuance of this particular license contradicts Government Regulation PP. No 26/2008 on the National Spatial Plan. Based on the PP No 10/2008, the Leuser Ecosystem is designated as a protected area with the status of a National Strategic Area. Therefore, issuance of oil palm plantations that are located within the Leuser Ecosystem and peat swamp areas is clearly a criminal act,” said Kamaruddin, a lawyer representing the Coalition of Communities Concerned for Tripa, a group that is suing the governor for abuse of power. The coalition says Governor Irwandi could face up to five years in prison if found guilty of the charges.

The controversy surrounding the Tripa permit caught some by surprise — Irwandi has been a champion of forest conservation in Aceh and is seen as a leader of efforts to link climate finance to forest protection through the Governors’ Climate and Forests initiative. But as Agus Purnomo and Yani Saloh, special advisers to President Yudhoyono on climate change, recently noted in an editorial in The Jakarta Globe, international financial support for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) programs has been slow to materialize on the ground in Indonesia.

“The province of Aceh has had a moratorium on logging for more than four years, but has still received no REDD money to compensate for its efforts,” they wrote.

Tripa peat swamp.
Northern section of the new concession plotted on a time series of satellite images (Spot 5: 29/1/06; Landsat 7: 21/1/10 and 20/10/20) showing damage to the area before the concession permit was ever issued. The purple star on the right hand image are orangutan nests photographed on 11/11/11. Red flames with yellow border are fire hot spots in 2011, red flames with black borders are those in 2009 and 2010, and the small red dots are fire events 2001 to 2008.

Tripa peat swamp.
The 2 original concession areas of PT Kallista Alam (shown in pink hatching) and “new” concession (in red) in the Tripa peat swamps, on a 2006 satellite. Images and captions contained in Tripa Truths, a report produced for Tim Koalisi Penyelematan Rawa Tripa.


  • Wells, P.L., N. Franklin and G.D. Paoli (2011) Preliminary Observations on the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry Decree SK.7416/Menhut-VII/IPSDH/2011: The first revision of the Indicative Maps Concerning the Suspension of New Licenses for Forest and Peatland Utilisation. Published by Daemeter Consulting, Bogor, Indonesia. (Available for download at
  • Tim Koalisi Penyelematan Rawa Tripa (2011) Tripa Truths [PDF].
  • Purnomo, A and Saloh, Y. (2011) Running Out of Time, Again. The Jakarta Globe. December 19, 2011

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Tumpang Tindih

Melindungi Hutan dari Bangsa Sendiri

Oleh Isyana Artharini – Sab, 3 Des 2011


  • – 5 jam yang lalu

Hutan Indonesia seolah menjadi sumber daya yang tak terbatas. Di berbagai forum internasional, pemerintah Indonesia kerap ‘menjajakan’ betapa (seolah) masih tak terbatasnya kealamian hutan-hutan Indonesia itu.

Hutan-hutan kita itu dijajakan bukan untuk dijual kayunya, tapi pemerintah ingin meyakinkan berbagai negara maju akan potensi hutan-hutan alami Indonesia dalam menangkap karbondioksida dan membantu mendinginkan bumi. Sebagai imbalannya, negara maju yang teryakinkan itu kemudian bisa membantu Indonesia dari segi pendanaan agar terus menjaga hutannya tetap lestari.

Alasannya, hutan toh tetap punya potensi ekonomi untuk membantu pembangunan. Jika Indonesia tak bisa menggunakan hutan tersebut untuk kepentingan ekonomi mereka, lalu dari mana kesejahteraan bisa diperoleh?

Itulah pemikiran di balik skema internasional REDD (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation/mengurangi emisi akibat penebangan pohon dan kerusakan hutan) yang ingin diterapkan di Indonesia sejak 2007.

Hanya saja, sebelum pemerintahan berbagai negara asing itu mau merogoh kocek mereka lebih dalam untuk membantu melindungi hutan Indonesia, ada satu pertanyaan besar.

Bagaimana caranya memastikan tutupan lahan hutan-hutan Indonesia tetap terjaga dengan baik? Bagaimana caranya memastikan bahwa setelah dana bantuan diberikan, hutan-hutan alami itu tidak berubah menjadi lahan kelapa sawit, misalnya? Atau bagaimana cara memastikan hutan alami itu tidak menjadi hutan tanaman industri yang kualitas menyerap karbonnya lebih rendah?

Padahal, hutan-hutan di Indonesia kini sebenarnya masih mengalami ancaman kerusakan yang sangat besar. Salah satu penyebabnya adalah tingginya permintaan akan kayu-kayu asal hutan Indonesia yang terkenal berkualitas tinggi. Maka kayu-kayu tersebut pun ditebangi, baik secara legal maupun ilegal. Sayangnya, kayu-kayu berkualitas prima itu ternyata bukan untuk memenuhi kebutuhan pasar internasional.

Kayu-kayu hasil pembalakan liar justru malah dipakai oleh pasar dalam negeri. Konsumen sehari-hari seperti kitalah yang menggunakan kayu-kayu hasil pembalakan liar.

Ketua Divisi Program Politik dan Tata Kelola Pembangunan Pertanian dan Perdesaan IPB Arya Hadi Dharmawan mengatakan, sejak 2002, kayu ilegal mendominasi kayu-kayu yang tersedia di pasaran domestik. Salah satu indikator bahwa kayu-kayu yang kita temui itu adalah kayu ilegal, terlihat dari harganya yang sangat murah.

Sebagian besar kayu-kayu tersebut digunakan untuk membangun rumah atau kusen-kusen jendela. “Jika kayunya legal, maka sangat tidak mungkin harganya akan semurah seperti yang kita beli di toko bangunan. Menurut aturan hukum, harganya seharusnya bisa 10 kali lebih mahal dari apa yang kita bayar sekarang,” kata Arya ketika ditemui di salah satu acara di sela-sela Konferensi Perubahan Iklim PBB di Durban, Afrika Selatan, 2 Desember lalu.

Sampai saat ini, konsumen lokal belum bisa mengetahui apakah kayu yang mereka gunakan legal atau ilegal.

Solusinya sebenarnya sudah ada. Negara-negara Eropa yang mengimpor kayu dari Indonesia meminta sertifikat yang memastikan bahwa kayu yang masuk ke negara-negara mereka dari Indonesia sudah ditebang sesuai aturan. Jaminan sertifikat itu bernama Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS).

Sistem serupa sebenarnya bisa diterapkan di Indonesia. Hanya saja, menurut Arya, harga sertifikat yang mahal pasti akan menaikkan harga kayu. Konsekuensinya, harga bahan bangunan pun naik. Masyarakat pasti protes. Oleh karena itu, Arya menyarankan, harga sertifikasi itu harus ditanggung pemerintah. Harga kayu tetap akan naik, tapi setidaknya tidak setinggi seperti yang ia prediksi sebelumnya.

Arya adalah bagian dari tim IPB yang sedang meneliti soal kemungkinan memberlakukan sertifikat TLAS tersebut di tingkat domestik.

Selain harga, ada juga masalah pengelolaan hutan baik di tingkat lokal maupun nasional. Desentralisasi seharusnya mengembalikan pengelolaan hutan ke tingkat pemerintah lokal.

Sayangnya, desentralisasi juga berarti memberikan akses seluas-luasnya bagi pemerintah lokal ke pengelolaan hutan. Sehingga muncullah tren bagi-bagi hak izin pengelolaan hutan buat para donor politik usai pemilihan kepala daerah. Di sinilah potensi kerusakan hutan bisa terjadi.

Misalnya, hutan yang oleh pemerintah pusat sudah ditetapkan untuk kawasan REDD+ ternyata di tingkat lokal malah diberikan hak izin pengelolaannya.

Arya mengakui, dalam upaya sosialisasi soal sertifikasi TLAS tersebut, tabrakan antara pemerintah lokal, provinsi, dan pusat dalam membuat keputusan mengenai pengelolaan hutan awam terjadi. Ada masalah di tingkat pemerintah lokal dan sumber daya manusianya untuk mengelola hutan. “Kita harus terus-terusan mengulang soal koordinasi ini.”

Ketika ditanya soal masalah koordinasi ini di forum yang sama di Durban, Gubernur Kalimantan Tengah Agustin Teras Narang menyatakan tidak ada masalah seperti yang disebut Arya tersebut. “Kami punya masterplan kawasan, semua bantuan, kebijakan, rencana pengelolaan hutan akan dikonsultasikan dengan masterplan itu.”