Concrete action needed to protect critical peat landscape

Sungai Putri, West Kalimantan

Press release - March 30, 2017
Ketapang / Jakarta, March 29, 2017 - Peatland violations committed by the logging company PT Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa (MPK) in Sungai Putri forest, have resulted in an investigation carried by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. After submitting a report of the destruction of peat forests in this landscape, International Animal Rescue Indonesia, Greenpeace Indonesia and Wetlands International Indonesia, are seeking concrete steps to restore this land and protect it for the long term.

Sungai Putri is a peatland forest that covers an area of 55 thousand hectares in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Based on a 2008 report by Fauna and Flora International, the average depth of carbon-rich peat is over 6 meters and it is home to between 900-1250 orangutans. IUCN has placed the Borneo Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) in the category of “critically endangered”.

 “We welcome the decision by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to investigate potential illegal activity in the peat forests of Sungai Putri, but this must be followed up by urgent and concrete action that involves consultation with stakeholders in order to protect this area for the long term”, said Ratri Kusumohartono, Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner.

 In early March this year, a report was presented to the Director General of Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry [1]. The document includes evidence of violation of Govt Regulation 57/2016 (Amending Govt Regulation No. 71/2014 on the Protection and Management of Peatland Ecosystems) by PT MPK.

 “Sungai Putri forest is the habitat of a large population of orangutans. Canal excavation activities have already impacted their home and lead to conflict among the village of Sungai Awan Kiri, Muara Pawan, Ketapang”, said Tantyo Bangun, chairman of International Animal Rescue Indonesia.

 In addition to photographs taken in January 2017, which show the development of a 8 km drainage canal, part of areported total planned 60 km, the organizations submitted the results of satellite images that were overlaid with the map of the Indonesian Peatland Restoration Agency.  Peatland drainage by digging canals was one of the biggest drivers of the 2015 forest fires crisis. Sungai Putri will suffer the same fate if this development is not stopped by the time the 2017 dry season arrives.

 Meanwhile, Director of Wetlands International Indonesia, Nyoman Suryadiputra said: "PT MPK’s decision to use this canal to dry peat in ​​a carbon-rich forest has made this land vulnerable to fires in the next dry season. This action clearly contradicts the restoration initiatives that have been echoed by President Widodo and Dr Siti Nurbaya".

 Notes to editor:

[1] Report: The critical value of Sungai Putri Peat Ecosystem


Sol Gosetti, Greenpeace Indonesia Media Coordinator: 082122723571

Ratri Kusumohartono, Greenpeace Indonesia, tel: 08118003717

Tantyo Bangun, International Animal Rescue Indonesia, tel: 0811969808

Irwansyah Reza Lubis, Wetlands International Indonesia, tel 08217885642