Indonesia - 14 September, 2021
As a part of the efforts to protect essential ecosystem area (KEE) and implement best management practices in a collaborative way by multi-stakeholders, the formulated action plan of Ketapang KEE which was put aside due to the pandemic covid-19 is now back on the table. Tropenbos Indonesia supported the West Kalimantan Environmental and Forestry Agency to organize a group discussion of the KEE forum on Tuesday, 8 September 2021. Around 37 seven representatives from various organizations in Ketapang Districts and West Kalimantan province took part in the discussion including from the government agencies, NGOs, and private sectors.
During the discussion, an oil palm company PT Kayong Agro Lestari (KAL) of ANJ Group shared their three year KEE management plan of their concession. The company has allocated 3,844 ha or around 23.7 percent of their licensed area as KEE. According to Nardiyono, a staff of the company, the KEE management of PT KAL focuses on the management of environmental quality and environmental services inside the plantation, biodiversity inventory, patrol and monitoring, species preservation and biodiversity restoration, improving community awareness, and involving community in sustainable use of the resources.
The company also put special focus on educating younger generation and school children as the future conservation cadres. Nardi stated that community education on environment and sustainable utilization have been always put on their agenda including empowerment of livelihoods such as through the development of ecotourism where they strengthen the ecotourism group of nearby village Pokdarwis in collaboration with Tropenbos Indonesia and other stakeholders to manage the synergized HCV area of the company, Manjau Village Forest, and Gunung Palung National Park as ecotourism destinations.
At this moment, the population of orangutan in HCV area of PT KAL is around 6 orangutans per km2, which is according to Nardi a bit crowded. However, that’s only an estimation and since they have allocated 7.5 ha of the plantation area for the wildlife corridor, the orangutans in this area are no longer isolated. The existence of orangutans in this area has also invited local and international students to come and conduct their study in this area. The area has also become the place to release orangutans, where up to now 11 orangutans have been released in this area.
Nardi said that the company encouraged the implementation of landscape based management where a partnership and synergy with various stakeholders of the landscape should be formed. “In short-term it is expected to strengthen area stability and institutional strengthening, in mid-term to develop the functions of eco-education and ecotourism, and in the long-term to develop funding sustainability and collaborative network,” he said.
A commitment to support KEE also came from PT Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa (MPK) as stated by Hari Hani, General Manager of PT MPK where the company has planned to implement silviculture in its forestry multi-business covering an area of 30,000 ha of which around 7,000 ha will be used for planting non timber plants and agroforestry. We focus on managing this area especially to protect from forest fires,” he said. PT MPK also works together with PT KAL and BGA Group to protect the area from forest fires and other illegal activities.
Despite the commitment to support KEE, a mining company PT Laman Mning shared its objection on the designation of its smelter area as KEE by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Dwi Fauzan, a representative of PT Laman Mining told that the company currently faces difficulty to develop its smelter project. “It has disturbed the company’s activities, so we hope that some parts of the KEE which is part of the smelter project can be released. It is not that we have an objection to the whole areas, it’s only the area that becomes the core of the smelter development,” he said. According to him, a synergy between the environmental plan and the smelter project is supposed to work because the project can contribute to the national as well as local economy and the area for the smelter project has been prepared since 2012 with feasibility study as well as comparison study and even the permit has been obtained long before that.
Commenting to the issue, Nur Fadly of the Ketapang District Development Agency (Bappeda) said that the issuance of KEE has been made after the permit given to Laman Mining and there has also been a Presidential Decree about strategic national project such as the smelter that is going to be built by Laman Mining in this area. So, in his opinion, there could be a possibility of dynamic due to the district development plan for this area in the future. “If there are other plans, could they be synergized? Can other plans also be made upon this area?” he asked. It seems that communication and coordination will be very important to avoid any clash due to the variety of interests of the stakeholders.
Marius Marcelius, the former Head of the West Kalimantan Forestry Agency agreed that further assessment is important for the still conflicting area. Although the smelter development plan permit has been obtained, further study needs to carry out if the 3 m deep of peatland in this area is supposed to be part of the protected area.
At the end of the discussion, Albertus Agung Kalis, S.Hut, of the West Kalimantan Environment and Forestry Agency stated that while this forum continues with the finalization of the actions plan, the objection from Laman Mining will also be put into consideration and further discussion should be put on the agenda. It is important to find the best solution realizing that the development of strategic national project needs to be carried on as well as the protection of essential ecosystem area.