Indonesia’s President announces a palm oil freeze in effort to curb deforestation.
At the end of April, President Joko Widodo announced a moratorium on new licences for oil palm plantations and mining permits.
The Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya, and Acehnese leaders, Malik Mahmud Al Haytar (Wali Nanggroe Aceh, or Guardian of Aceh) and Zaini Abdullah (Governor of Aceh), went on to publicly support the move, declaring a moratorium on the expansion of palm oil and mining in the Leuser Ecosystem.
As well as putting a stop to the expansion of plantations, the government is also to undertake a review of existing licenses. This could mean that in areas where companies have secured permits, but have not yet begun operations, forests could be saved from the bulldozers.
Leuser is the only place in the world where orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos coexist, and represents a vital stronghold for all these critically endangered species, so the freeze on development within the ecosystem is fantastic news.
Since the announcement, Indonesia’s ministry of forestry has rejected oil palm plantation permit applications from 61 companies, sparing 851,000 hectares from conversion. The national moratorium on the expansion of oil palm and mining concessions is off to a great start!
On our Borneo trekking tours it is possible to see orangutans living freely in their natural environment. This is a rare opportunity due to the disastrous effects that palm plantations have had on the habitats of these beautiful creatures.