INDONESIAN LAW PROHIBITS CONSERVATION EFFORTS OF PALM OIL COMPANIES
A law amended by the Indonesian government in September makes it more difficult for palm oil companies to conserve carbon-dense, high-biodiversity areas within their forest concessions, according to a report published on October 21, 2014, by Indonesian environmental group Greenomics. The report examined efforts that Golden-Agri Resources (GAR), Indonesia’s largest palm oil producer, is taking to eliminate the deforestation of high carbon stock and high conservation value forests. GAR has identified these areas in its forest concessions and does not deforest these areas, an effort that the Greenomics report concludes has been successful overall. However, the report notes that under a September 29, 2014, revision to the Plantation Act, these high conservation value areas are “legally threatened because, by law, the land on which they stand must be used for the development of palm oil plantations." The amended law requires any area under a Right of Cultivation permit to be fully cleared and converted within 6 years or the state may turn rights to the unused areas over to another company that will convert the land. The report highlights the opportunity for new legislation to sanction conservation efforts, based on a mandate in the current law, and calls upon the government to take action to remedy the situation. For the full story, see: http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1020-palm-oil-conservation.html. The full report may be viewed at http://www.greenomics.org/docs/GAR-HCS_Greenomics-report-(LowRes).pdf.