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President to review licenses of companies converting peatlands

President Joko Widodo has said he will review the licenses of companies that have converted peatlands into monoculture plantations as they can damage the country’s ecosystem.

“I have told the minister of environment and forestry to review the licenses of the companies that have converted peatlands into monoculture plantations if they are found damaging the ecosystem,” he stated in Pekanbaru, Riau, on Thursday.

He noted that during his field inspection in Riau province, he had found sago plantations damaged because of the development of monoculture plantations.

He said the green cover seen from the sky must be verified whether they are tropical rain forests or monoculture plantation forests.

President Joko Widodo has reaffirmed his intention to stop land and forest destruction in various places such as Sumatra and Kalimantan.

To prevent the tropical rain forests in the country from vanishing, we will continue the moratorium on concessions for plantations such as oil palm plantations, he stated.

Environment and forestry minister Siti Nurbaya has hinted that the moratorium on industrial forest concessions will be continued while an evaluation of problematic licenses is carried out.

“License moratorium will continue. No new licenses will be issued with regard to internal evaluation,” she emphasized while inspecting the measures to prevent land and forest fires in Pekanbaru, Riau, Sumatra, on Tuesday.

She revealed her office was studying the reports about forest concessionaires that have caused problems as well as concessionaires that have been neglected by concession holders.

She cautioned that the situation could trigger forest fires and encroachment as well as illegal logging.

The Association of Indonesia Forest Concession Holders (APHI) has asked President Joko Widodo to evaluate the benefits of moratorium saying it will not be effective to curb deforestation, especially land and forest fires.

“Thirty-four percent of fire spots from February to March 2014 were found in the forests that are under moratoriums. I wish the government would reveal the map to show the condition of forests before and after imposing moratoriums. We must not be naive or feel proud, because I am convinced the real condition is even worse,” APHI chairman for industrial plantations Nana Suparna remarked in Pekanbaru on Tuesday.

The government has over the past three years stopped issuing forest concessions through Presidential Instruction Number 10/2011, which has been extended through Presidential Instruction Number 6/2013.

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