PT Perkebunan Nusantara I
1) RAN Leuser Watch article titled, “Elephant Corridor Has Been Cleared by Indonesian State Company Despite Moratorium on Palm Oil by President.” (14 December 2018)
2) RAN Leuser Watch article titled, “Forest Loss Rises Sharply in Critical Leuser Ecosystem Lowlands” (17 May 2019)
3) RAN Leuser Watch article titled, “Investigation underway into forest loss for palm oil in Leuser Ecosystem” (04 June 2019)
4) RAN Leuser Watch article titled, “Amidst COVID-19 lockdown deforestation for palm oil climbs” (24 June 2020)
(1) The first report highlighted PT Perkebunan Nusantara I (PTPN I) to have continued clearing forests within an important corridor for the endangered Sumatran elephant inside the Leuser Ecosystem a month after President Jokowi announced a three-year moratorium on the issuance of new plantation licenses.
(2) The second report highlighted forest loss that has occurred within PTPN I Blang Tualang estate, for a total of 24 ha cleared from January to April 2019.
(3) The third report mentioned that PTPN I responded to RAN’s publication with commitment to maintain forest area in Leuser Ecosystem. The report showed satellite imagery for the period of 2017 to June 2019 that showed the location and timing of forest clearance and the development of a new road into a forested area.
(4) The fourth report highlighted PTPN I as having failed to adopt a “No Deforestation, No Peatland and No Exploitation” policy to align with the expectations of global consumers, and the published policies of major brands and palm oil traders, and as having continued opening roads and land clearing of potential High Conservation Value (HCV) areas and High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests in the Leuser Ecosystem.
We reached out to PTPN I to seek clarification regarding the issues raised by RAN and requested Planting Map (Areal Statement) of PT Tualang Sawit (Blang Tualang) estate.
Based on the provided planting map from PTPN I, we noticed that there is an area called “Reserve Area” within the PTPN I concession. We sought further clarification regarding the “Reserve area” to PTPN I.
We reached out to PTPN I to provide the location map of area covering 249 ha that are planned for replanting.
We contacted again PTPN I and requested further information such as the previous planting of the area planned for replanting and the current land cover on the ground.
We communicated again with PTPN I to request clarification regarding RAN report dated 24 June 2020 and follow up on our request on additional evidence/ information on the land cover. We also invited PTPN I to have virtual meeting (Video Conference) to clarify on the issues highlighted in the RAN report.
PTPN I stated that principally PTPN I support program and activities to adopt sustainability principles and environment protection in their operations as required by plantation regulations.
Regarding the issue on alleged deforestation in January to October 2018 and continued to January until April 2019, PTPN I explained that the activities carried out at that time were only replanting at several locations within the PTPN I land use right (HGU) and were not deforestation. PTPN I shared the planting map of PT Tualang Sawit (Blang Tualang) estate.
PTPN I clarified that the “Reserve Area” is an area formerly planted with oil palm and mainly covered with old oil palm blocks left unmanaged. As a result, the number of palms decreased and the area started to develop into scrubs covered with wood weed and thick bushes within the unmanaged old palms.
Some areas within the “Reserve Area” covering 249 ha which can be replanted is planned to be replanted within the year of 2020 – 2023.
Responding to Musim Mas’ request, PTPN I shared the map of the replanting plan for the area covering 249 ha which is planned to be carried out within the year 2020-2023.
PTPN I informed that they were working with the relevant authorities to confirm the land cover status of the PTPN I land use right (HGU) PT Tualang Sawit (Blang Tualang) on the ground.
We conducted conference call with PTPN I on 06 July 2020 to further discuss on PTPN I sustainability policy and to review the issues raised in the RAN report.
The outcome of the discussion as follows:
1. The last replanting activity of PTPN I was in 2019 and outside the forest area. PTPN I did not carry out land clearing and replanting activities in 2020. The land clearing activities that occurred within the PTPN I land use right (HGU) in 2020 as alleged in the NGO report were encroachment by the community. PTPN I committed not to do replanting and new planting until there is results of spatial/ renewal analysis from the relevant authorities. In addition, PTPN I also informed that they will conduct an HCV and HCS assessment involving competent institutions.
2. The issue raised by RAN in the Leuser Watch dated 24 June 2020 titled “Amidst COVID-19 lockdown deforestation for palm oil climbs” stating PTPN I failed to implement the NDPE policy, PTPN I said that PTPN I already have Sustainable Palm Oil Policy and willing to share with stakeholders
Musim Mas will continue communication with PTPN I and will monitor their progress.