Peatland restoration news: LIDAR field mapping, Draft bill on palm oil pushes for legalisation, Foresthints News videos on 2017 fire risk in peat cultivation zones

9 Mar 2017: LIDAR field mapping 

Peat Restoration Agency (BRG) has completed field mapping using a laser beam or LIDAR ( light, detection, and ranging ) in priority districts. Map is divided into aerial photography, land cover and digital elevation model also includes five hydrological unity peat (KHG) covering an area of 718 000 hectares.... Now, there are 17 KHG again in the process.... Map scale of 1: 2500 can be detailed up to 1: 1,000. Each KHG, has three different types of map function. Each map will be updated every two years.

6 Jun 2017: 'Quo vadis our forest moratorium?’

Maitar, Bustar (2017), 'Quo vadis our forest moratorium?’ The Jakarta Post, 30 May 2017,
Primary forest and peat land moratorium, initially stipulated by Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 10/2011 on the suspension of new licenses and improving governance of primary natural forest and peatland and concluded on May 13, after six years of implementation

Island focus: Environment ministry lambasted, The Jakarta Post February 3 2017 -- Activists have lambasted the Environment and Forestry Ministry for allegedly undermining the work of the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG).  In December 2016, the BRG sent letters to 25 companies, advising them to immediately restore their burned concessions in peatland areas. Two hundred companies were told to restore more than 1 million hectares of damaged peatland...

7 Feb 2017: Draft bill on palm oil pushes for legalisation 

NGOs Refuse Draft Bill on Palm Oil | National | Tempo.Co, 06 February, 2017 -- “The existence of the Draft Bill regarding palm oil could worsen the regulation since the draft bill legalizes violating acts in peat areas,” said the Advocacy Deputy Director of ELSAM, Andi Muttaqien, on Sunday, February 5, 2017. According to Andi, the Bill legalizes the palm oil plantation that is currently considered illegal. It is written in article 23 of the Draft Bill. The article regulates the
rights of cultivating palm oil on a land after acquiring a business permit. The plot of land that is referred to is mineral land and/or peatland.

23 Jan 2017: Foresthints News videos on 2017 fire risk in peat cultivation zones, question on "arbitrary" BRG claims and lack of interventions other than "simple data preparation"

Video reveals threat of peat fires in 2017 - Pulang Pisau (Indonesian Borneo) by Foresthints News  Published on 22 Jan 2017 -- There is still a distinct possibility of peat fires occurring in 2017, originating from the conservation areas and protection forests that the Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency (BRG) has classified as cultivation zones in its targeted indicative peat restoration map. (MoEF Indonesia - January 12, 2017)

The replanting of burned peatlands in the BAP concession has gone undetected by the BRG by Foresthints News Published on 11 Jan 2017 -- This video shows the 2015's burned peatlands in the BAP pulp concession (APP) which have in fact been cleared and replanted with acacia. -- (The Indonesian MoEF - November 10, 2016)

Peat restoration interventions in the BAP concession amounted to zero by Foresthints News Published on 11 Jan 2017 -- This video shows parts of the BAP pulp concession (APP) which have yet to be cleared and replanted with acacia. Acacia trees are growing wildly in these areas, which is clearly not what was intended by the peat agency’s task of revegetating burned peatlands -- (The Indonesian MoEF - November 11, 2016).

Climate justice for smallholder farmers by Ibnu Budiman and Hannah Barrowman, Researcher at PT Sustainability and Resilience ( and PhD Scholar at the Australian National University January 16, 2017 -- The combination of climate change mitigation and adaptation is essential for Indonesia’s 37 million smallholder farmers. However, does it consider farmers’ rights and development to achieve a farmer-centered approach?

18 Jan 2017: BRG indicative mapping update

Peta Indikatif Restorasi Gambut. Seperti Apakah?

BRG (tag line: peat recovery, restoring humanity), reports that protection and management will be done on KHG or peat hydrology units. There are 408 KHGs across 7 provinces totalling 21.7 million ha, or which 12.9 million ha is peat land. It refers to four zone categories and the map scales to be used. The ministries and stakeholders involved. Source: BRG facebook posting 17 Jan 2017.

16 Jan 2017: Helicopters bound for Riau, Kalimantan to control forest fires

Helicopters bound for Riau, Kalimantan to control forest fires: Report 15 Jan 2017 -- According to media reports, the request for assistance was made by the local administrations after hotspots were detected this week in some Riau regencies. "The firefighters there experienced difficulties reaching the hot spots in the hilly area. That is when a helicopter is needed," the Jakarta Post quoted the head of Riau's Environment and Forestry Agency, Yulwiriati Moesa, on Friday (Jan 14). "We will also increase monitoring of private companies in the forests. We have demanded they report their inventory of equipment and facilities to prevent and mitigate forest fires,” she added.

2016 in Review: Indonesia's Conservation Game, Strong By : Ratri M. Siniwi | January 02, 2017

Feeding nation while protecting environment by Fitrian Ardiansyah, Indonesia country director of IDH-Sustainable Trade Initiative January 5, 2017

13 Jan 2017: 400k ha target for 2017 restoration, oil palm mix with rubber and livestock suggested

Government to restore 400,000 hectares of peatland in 2017 by Anton Hermansyah The Jakarta Post January 12, 2017 -- "We need to keep the water level at least 40 centimeters below the surface. During the latest fire in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, the water level was only 50 to 60 centimeters from the surface," Siti said at the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday, adding that from 2009 to 2016 the permissible water level for palm oil plantations was 80 cm.... ....Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) head Nazir Foead said palm oil companies actually objected to the new rule as high water levels would reduce productivity and because the water detectors were costly. However, the government will offer productive alternatives such as mixing oil palm with other plants like rubber or combining plantations with breeding livestock....

6 Jan 2017: BRG says 1.4 million restoration by forest concessionaires, Indonesia state budget remains cash-strapped, NGO reactions to Indonesia's new regulations

The Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) will require forest concessionaires to restore 1.4 million hectares of peatland starting in January 2017. The move is set to affect 650,389 hectares managed by 36 forest concessionaires in five provinces, namely South Sumatra, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Riau andJambi, BRG head Nazir Foead said. “The areas to be restored are equivalent to 26 percent of the total peatland restoration target,” he said on Friday as quoted by Antara.... 1 million ha is located in protected forests, conservation forests and community forests....

According to the Directorate General of Taxation, Rp 141 trillion (US$10.46 billion)-worth of assets had been promised to be repatriated before Dec. 31. The committed amount itself is far lower than the Rp 1 quadrillion initially targeted. However, data from the Financial Services Authority (OJK) — which oversees the banking industry as the party that receives the repatriated funds — revealed that only 63.5 percent or Rp 89.6 trillion of the committed amount had entered the domestic financial system and most of the funds had been recorded as “cash and cash equivalents”....The government is not happy with the result, as it wishes to see massive fund repatriation and the money directed toward the financial markets and real sector to move the economy because the state budget remains cash-strapped.

16 Dec 2016: NGO reactions to Indonesia's new peatland regulations - 30% protection is not good enough, APRIL-RGE in spotlight; Malaysian state says no palm in swampy areas for fear of drying up land

Green groups raise red flags over Jokowi’s widely acclaimed haze law 9 December 2016

Dianggap tak Transparan, Greenpeace Putus Kontrak APRIL dan RGE  14 December 2016

Negeri Sembilan ‘No oil palm on swampy land’ 8 December 2016 -- Negri Sembilan, a major palm oil producing state, will no longer allow the palm to be grown in swampy areas and abandoned padi fields to prevent the state from “drying up”....

7 Dec 2016: Indonesia expands protection for peatland, Government Taskforce To Legalise HCV Guidelines, Destruction of the Amazon is speeding up 

Press release: - Indonesia's Peat Moratorium could benefit people, welfare and climate News story | Published: 2016-12-05  --

Govt Imposes Moratorium on Land Clearing of Peatland  07 DECEMBER, 2016 | 07:10 WIB
Indonesia just made a huge move to protect the climate By Chelsea Harvey December 6 at 4:50 PM
Indonesia expands protection for peatland  DEC 7, 2016 -- New law banning cultivation also covers concession land previously licensed to firms

For peat’s sake. Despite tough talk, Indonesia’s government is struggling to stem deforestation, But the weather is helping a little Nov 26th 2016 | HENDA, BORNEO -- a familiar story across Indonesia, where decentralisation has saddled local governments with more responsibility than they can handle. Most are simply unable to stop powerful interests bent on deforestation. Many do not want to: the financial and political benefits from allowing business to proceed as usual often exceed those from following national policy decided thousands of miles away in Jakarta. Sometimes the incentives are terrifyingly blunt: activists tell tales of attempts to enforce forestry laws being met by men with machine-guns.... Added to a lack of capacity is a woolly governmental structure that makes it difficult to know just where the buck stops, and easy for officials to pass it. WALHI, an environmental pressure group, has filed a lawsuit over deforestation in Central Kalimantan. Among the defendants are the provincial governor and parliament, as well as Jokowi and the national ministries of health, environment and agriculture—all of which have some role in forest policy. Mr Yudhoyono’s moratorium came from the forestry ministry (now merged with the environment ministry), but the agriculture ministry handles licensing for palm-oil concessions. Such divisions are replicated at the local level, and the various entities rarely co-ordinate with each other....

InPOP Update December 2016 - Government Taskforce To Legalise HCV Guidelines In Indonesia -- A landmark process between Ministries — with input from the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders — began in November to refine High Conservation Value (HCV) related regulations in Indonesia.... Once the HCV guidelines are officially recognized by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry under KEE, the taskforce will shift focus for them to be considered and adopted at the highest level of Indonesian law. This will require a constitutional revision in parliament know as an Undang Undang.

Destruction of the Amazon is speeding up — just when the planet can least afford it By Chris Mooney December 2, 2016 -- This means that since 2012, when deforestation hit a historic low after many years at high rates, it is now bouncing back again — and doing so at a time when researchers say protecting tropical forests, and allowing them to regrow, is one of the most effective short-term ways of fighting climate change. “This is a big deal,” said Daniel Nepstad, an Amazon expert and senior scientist at the Earth Innovation Institute. “It is the highest deforestation number since 2008. Compared to the lowest deforestation number, in 2012, it means an extra 150 million tons of CO2 went up into the air through forest destruction.”...

Indonesia proposes three strategies in COP 22 to restore peatlands, The Jakarta Post November 11, 2016

21 Sep 2016: 70% of Sarawak Pan Borneo Highway on peat, Dr Param on soil mapping and proper management 

Ministry to find affordable solutions for road construction on peat soil BY SHARON LING 7 September 2016 -- KUCHING: The Works Ministry will look into finding affordable solutions for road construction on peat soil, including the Pan Borneo highway project in Sarawak. Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the cost of building roads in peat areas in the state could well exceed RM20mil per kilometre due to the soil’s soft nature.  “If we want to build a good road in peat areas, it will be akin to constructing an elevated highway, which means we have to do piling. “The one that we did as a pilot project in Batu Kawa about 10 years ago cost about RM20mil per kilometre. Now (the cost) could be double,” ... Fadillah said the peat soil in Sarawak was quite deep, posing another challenge to the construction of roads and buildings. For instance, he said about 70% of the Pan-Borneo Highway project in the state was likely to be in peat areas....

This man feels our peat lands are not threatened by agriculture June 17, 2016 By N. RAMA LOHAN -- “Do not get me wrong … I am not suggesting we clear all our peat lands and plant oil palm. Some tropical peats, especially those with little or no wood, can give good economic yields and profit. But some tropical peats with ‘hardwood’ logs in them, should not be cleared for cultivation. The only way to differentiate these varying types of peat lands is through soil mapping. Unfortunately, this is costly and often not done before the land is alienated for agricultural and other development,” he said. In a nutshell, he sees little detriment to peat lands being used for agriculture, as long as the soil’s needs are observed and managed accordingly.

International Peat Congress, Kuching, August 2016

Malaysia challenges the world over palm oil on peatland by Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post -- Kuching, Serawak, Malaysia | Wed, August 24 2016 -- Unlike Indonesia which prefers to follow the mainstream views of the environmentalists and has decided to launch a moratorium on new development on peatland since 2011, Malaysia fully supports its palm oil industry who have tried to prove that peatland cannot be classified as “sacred land”. .... The Malaysian government established the Tropical Peat Research Laboratory (TPRL) in Serawak state to facilitate its scientists to conduct research on the economic and environmental aspects of peatland development. They claimed that they have managed to eradicate the negative impacts of peatland exploitation. However, their arguments were nearly unheard as they were inundated by the mainstream opinion of the environmentalists.

Presentations by LMC International Ltd


source: LMC International

Source: Khor Yu Leng - on peat restoration panel

7 July 2016: Indonesia BRG and company news

Company news

Inilah Klaim PT RAPP di Lahan Konsesi HTI Mereka Penulis : izdor | Editor : Fakhrurrodzi | Jumat, 24 Juni 2016

Note: PT RAPP - Tanoto will conserve 400 thousand hectares of industrial timber estates (HTI) in Riau to prevent environmental damage, The company will disburse Rp 1.4 trillion (US$106 million) for the period of 10 years (US$10.6 million per year on average). "The program is already running. Land conservation area of 150 thousand hectares in the past year.. RAPP target the conserved land 1: 1 land planted with acacia. Today, the company is headquartered in Palalawan has planted 480 thousand hectares of land... 

"A Lost Opportunity for Indonesia" RAN Responds to Dissolution of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge. San Francisco. Today, Rainforest Action Network responded to the announcement made by six of the world’s largest palm oil companies to dissolve the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) group, an innovative platform designed to advance the environmental and human rights reforms needed to address the international controversy surrounding the rainforest destruction and labor exploitation associated with Indonesia’s palm oil industry. Gemma Tillack, Agribusiness Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network issued the following statement. “IPOP was an important mechanism for Indonesian companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors by taking real steps to halt the rampant destruction of forests and peatlands, to end the widespread abuse of workers and address the long-standing conflicts resulting from the displacement of local communities from their lands for industrial scale plantations. IPOP’s dissolution is a disappointing step backward in the urgent fight to achieve truly responsible palm oil and is a major lost opportunity for Indonesia’s palm oil industry to maintain its stake in the global market. “IPOP’s former members, Wilmar, Golden Agri-Resources, Musim Mas, Astra Agro Lestari, Asian Agri and Cargill, must now meet their responsible palm oil promises independently and demonstrate that they intend to follow through on the commitments made to smallholders, local communities, workers and customers across the globe that are demanding fundamental changes in the way the palm oil is produced....

Badan Restorasi Gambut / BRG news

BRG finalkan peta indikatif restorasi skala 1:250.000 1 Juli 2016

Indonesia plans peat monitoring system to curb haze By Sam Reeves, AFP 30 June 2016  -- JAKARTA--Indonesia is planning a hi-tech monitoring network to protect peatland at the center of last year's raging fires that cloaked Southeast Asia in toxic haze, a senior official said.... Jakarta in January set up an agency to oversee the restoration of 2.6 million hectares (6.4 million acres) — roughly the size of Rwanda — of peat in the next five years to try to prevent future fires. It is part of a broader push to stop a repeat of the devastating blazes. President Joko Widodo has introduced other measures to protect peatland and banned the use of new land for palm oil operations. Restoration of peat involves damming enormous canals built to drain the peat, replanting vegetation and replacing lost water. Monitoring devices will be installed in the peat to ensure restoration is being properly carried out, said Peatland Restoration Agency head Nazir Foead. "We are going to install monitoring tools, sensors, that will send us the data real time through the internet so companies are fully aware that their restoration action is being monitored," he told AFP in an interview on Tuesday.... Roughly half the peat earmarked for restoration is on companies' concession land and they are responsible for carrying out the improvement work, with guidance from the agency. The agency will restore peat on government- and community-owned land. The monitoring stations will include an underground sensor and rain gauge to check if peat is retaining water after rainfall, allowing authorities to work out whether drainage canals have been properly closed off....

Peat agency indicative map adjudged to be misleading  2016-06-30 A spatial analysis performed by Greenomics Indonesia with respect to the Peatland Restoration Indicative Map, which was created by the Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency (BRG), has found that the map has no substantial basis consistent with the applicable regulations and is therefore misleading to all parties concerned. This was announced by executive director of Greenomics Indonesia, Vanda Mutia Dewi, in Jakarta on Wednesday (Jun 29). In light of this, Vanda appealed for the map to be withdrawn from the public consultation process without delay. She went on to describe how President Joko Widodo had been urged by the peat agency, an entity created by the president himself in January of this year, to incorporate the majority of peatland into the moratorium zone. She deplored this move as misleading from both a substantive and legal perspective.“Most of the peatland areas proposed by the peat agency to be incorporated into the moratorium zone have in fact already been designated as moratorium areas by means of the Indicative Map for the Suspension of New License Issuance (PIPPIB) in primary forest and peatland areas. This just goes to show that the PIPPIB map was not used as a reference by the peat agency when drawing up its indicative map.”  Vanda didn’t hold back in her criticism of the peat agency, labeling the recommendations it made to the President embarrassing and calling for it to make a public apology to him. The peat agency may now be feeling a measure of trepidation, having been made aware of the legal and substantive shortcomings in its indicative map which has been shown to have neglected the PIPPIB in its preparation.....Meanwhile, in his reaction to the public statements made by Greenomics Indonesia, especially those alleging that the peat agency’s indicative map is misleading to stakeholders, the Peat Agency Chief Nazir Foead said that his team was reviewing all the input included in the public consultation process which was due to close on June 30, 2016, including the publicinput submitted by Greenomics.... Link to Greenomics statement: 

Support to Peat Restoration Agency/ Dukungan terhadap Badan Restorasi Gambut - Supporting the government’s efforts to significantly reduce carbon emissions by strengthening the capacity of the newly-established Peat Restoration Agency (BRG) to achieve its targets. According to the Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia emitted approximately 800 million-1,1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2eq) emissions due to huge forests and land fires in 2015. These fires are largely caused by extensive peat soil drainage and excessive peat conversion to other land uses, mainly to palm oil plantations. As a preventive measure of fires and haze, President Joko Widodo mentioned in his official speech at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 Paris the establishment of the Peat Restoration Agency (Badan Restorasi Gambut/BRG), an agency that is mandated to restore 2 million hectares of peat by 2020, 30 percent of which has to be achieved in less than a year.

Indonesia taking steps to prevent cross-border haze this year Source: Bernama -- JAKARTA, 27 June 2016:  This year, the air pollution crisis caused by the haze may not recur. This is based on Indonesia’s confidence that forest and oil palm plantation fires will be controlled, beginning this year, while it tackles at the same time the spectre of the haze haunting neighbouring countries annually. Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) chairman Joko Supriyono said the confidence was based on preparations being made by all parties – including the government, plantation companies and villagers in the oil palm plantation areas. “As fire is our common problem, GAPKI members have been asked to proactively assist the government to overcome the problem and villagers, advised to refrain from large-scale open burning.” In addition, he said Gapki would cooperate with the Indonesian government to monitor all hotspots, adding that GAPKI members were reminded not to resort to open burning..... He said, as an organisation representing palm oil entrepreneurs, GAPKI welcomed the directive of Indonesian president Joko Widodo (Jokowi) for the authorities to take stern action against any company carrying out open burning. Joko said GAPKI had also urged the authorities to take action against perpetrators of forest fires. “The forest and peat fires have been taking place for many years and recur every year, even before the growth of the palm oil industry. There are also laws that allow open burning to clear fields, all this has to be reviewed.” Recently, Jokowi ordered all authorities to carry out works to prevent the burning of forests and farms in the country, adding that they (the authorities) should be prepared to face the catastrophic forest fires in advance and make prevention a priority. The republic has set up a Peat Restoration Agency to carry out activities to preserve forests and ensure forest and farm fires do not recur this year. In addition, the Indonesian president has instructed all district-level authorities, including the army and police to monitor the fields.....

BRG Rampungkan Peta Restorasi Gambut Rep: Sonia Fitri/ Red: Nidia Zuraya  09 June 2016, 18:22 WIB note: 

Note: priority area of restoration during the year 2016-2020 is 2.6 million hectares 2.3 million ha or 87 percent of the area of peatland restoration priority are in area of cultivation, the rest or 13 percent is in protected area, A total of 46 percent peat, was with illegal immigrants, 41 percent have not been identified and 13 percent protected areas; unclear status for an area of 1.1 million ha with 200 thousand hectares in the peat dome. Use of peat for cultivation was mostly by concessionaires forestry and oil palm plantation (1.2 million ha of peat) with half a million hectares of concessions on peat dome. By province, per province: Riau area of 939 thousand hectares, 683 thousand hectares of Central Kalimantan, South Sumatra 446 thousand ha, 324 thousand ha in West Kalimantan, Jambi 137 thousand hectares, 82 thousand hectares Papua and Kalimantan 68 thousand ha. 

Tim Restorasi Gambu Sumatera Selatan - Sriwijaya Peat 

Peta Indikatif Restorasi Gambut di Sumsel dari BRG admin 2016-06-11 (Terkelola baik - managed well, Rehabilitisi - rehabilitation, Moratorium - moratorium, Prioritas restorasi - restoration priority)

Mencengangkan! Peta BRG Perlihatkan Setengah Juta Hektar Konsesi di Kubah Gambut  June 10, 2016 Lusia Arumingtyas, Jakarta

Tim Restorasi Gambut Sumsel Berharap Semua Pihak Fokus Cegah Kebakaran May 20, 2016 Taufik Wijaya, Palembang

1,9 Juta Hektar Restorasi Gambut di Kawasan Budidaya April 5, 2016 Indra Nugraha dan Tommy Apriando -- Badan Restorasi Gambut (BRG) sudah menyiapkan langkah-langkah merestorasi gambut. Pemetaan indikatif prioritas restorasi tujuh provinsi sedang proses dengan total 2,260 juta hektar gambut, dengan rincian 1,9 juta hektar kawasan budidaya, dan 360.000 hektar hutan lindung. “Angka ini menarik dikaji, 1,9 juta hektar kawasan budidaya. Berarti perkebunan sawit, HTI dan lain-lain. Saya bisa katakan paling tidak tanggungjawab negara 360.000 hektar, 1,9 juta hektar ada tanggungjawab negara, juga perusahaan,” kata Kepala BRG Nazir Foead di Jakarta, akhir Maret.  (kawasan lindung - protected area, kawasan budidaya - cultivated area; prioritas restorasi tujuh propinsi di kawasan budidaya - 1.9 jt hektar. Di Kawasan lindung (hutan lindung, TN, CA, SM dan Tahura) = 360 ribu hektar - seven provinces restoration priorities in the area of cultivation - 1.9 million hectares. In protected areas (forest, TN, CA, BC and Tahura) = 360 thousand hectares) 
Note: 2.26 million ha of peat with 1.9 million ha cultivation area with palm oil, timber and others under national and company responsibility and 360,000 ha protected forest under state responsibility - late March 2016

Badan Restorasi Gambut Identifikasi 100 Desa 31 March 2016

Restorasi Gambut Perlu Dana Rp 12 Juta per Hektare untuk 5 Tahun  31 MARET 2016

Istana Minta Badan Restorasi Gambut Segera Bekerja   31 MARET 2016

Inilah Perpres No. 1 Tahun 2016 tentang Badan Restorasi Gambut  25 Jan 2016