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Wetlands International welcomes ground-breaking ruling against illegal destruction of Tripa Peat Swamp Forests

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  • Private sector performance

Wetlands International applauds the Indonesian court ruling which fined palm oil company PT Kallista Alam 114 billion Rupiah (approximately 7 million Euros) for illegally burning peat swamp forests in Tripa/Aceh.

On the 9th of January 2014 Indonesian courts found PT Kallista Alam guilty of illegally burning peat swamp forests within the legally protected Leuser Ecosystem in Tripa/Aceh. The courts fined the company 114 billion Indonesian Rupiah and furthermore demanded that the company pay over 251 billion Rupiah (approximately 15.5 billion Euros) for restoration measures.

“We welcome this good news from Indonesia regarding law enforcement for the conservation of peat swamp forests”, stated Marcel Silvius, Head of Policy and Strategy for wetlands and climate at Wetlands International. “It seems that the many policy improvements introduced by the current government of Indonesia over the last years have started to pay off in terms of stopping the further conversion of peatlands, improving law enforcement and promoting sustainable development.”

National Law No 32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management prohibits the use of fire to clear forests, a common practice in several palm oil concessions in Indonesia.  Setting fire to a peatland has dire environmental, health and economic consequences. Fires in peat swamp forests destroy biodiversity-rich ecosystems which harbour threatened species, and release enormous amounts of CO2. Since much of the peat burns underground, the peat material is burned incompletely, creating more smoke than normal fires and creating heavy haze clouds which endanger public health. In addition, peat fires are extremely difficult to extinguish.The Leuser Ecosystem is the only place on earth where tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutans can be found living together in the wild and was listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as one of the “World’s Most Irreplaceable Protected Areas”.

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