Forests & forest fires

Down to Earth No 51 November 2001


A decision to suspend the certification of teak plantations in Java has highlighted major problems with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) eco-labelling scheme in Indonesia.

In August, the FSC-accredited certifier, Smartwood - a programme of the US-based Rainforest Alliance - announced its decision to suspend the certificates of four of five plantations managed by PT Perhutani: Cepu, Kebonharjo and Kendal in Central Java and Madiun in East Java. In total, five teak and one pine plantation had been certified by Smartwood.

Down to Earth No 51 November 2001


A huge oil palm development - covering 1.3 million hectares is to be developed on the site of the failed "PLG" rice mega-project in Central Kalimantan.

The provincial parliament has agreed to investment plans by Bomer Ltd (reportedly a Swiss-Malaysian company) to develop the area under the nucelus estate - small-holder model.

DOWN TO EARTH 6 November 2001

As an international NGO which focuses on the social and human aspects of environmental issues in Indonesia, Down to Earth supports the call by Indonesian civil society groups that the CGI should adopt stronger measures to stop the destruction of Indonesia's forests and the livelihoods of the tens of millions of people who depend on them. Their demands include:

Down to Earth No 50 August 2001


The campaign to stop illegal logging has become a key focus for Indonesia's new forestry minister, but the problem is immense and can only be properly tackled, say NGOs, by a complete overhaul of forest management in Indonesia.

Illegal logging has reached unprecedented levels in post-Suharto Indonesia, with up to 56.6 million cubic metres of logs being felled without permits each year.

Down to Earth No 50 August 2001


Protected areas such as Siberut are increasingly vulnerable to exploitation - legal and illegal - due to Indonesia's prolonged economic crisis, coupled with regional autonomy and the devolution of revenue gathering.

The island of Siberut has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1981 due to its rich forests, unique wildlife and the traditional lifestyle and beliefs of the indigenous people.

Down to Earth No. 50, August 2001


Communities in Kalimantan are trying to secure fair compensation for lands and resources from two oil palm plantation companies funded by CDC, the British private investment agency. Although some moves towards negotiations have been made, CDC still fails to acknowledge that the projects' policies on land acquisition and community relations have led to social conflict, deforestation and, for some communities, increased poverty.

Down to Earth No 50 August 2001

Violations of community rights are still continuing as companies and regional governments try to maximise income from the country's mineral resources. At the same time, mining companies are complaining about the "legal vacuum" hampering their operations in Indonesia.

Large-scale mining in Indonesia is in 'legal limbo', as the protesting companies see it, because their contracts, signed during the Suharto era, are being nibbled away by the demands of local governments newly empowered by regional autonomy.