Aceh Governor “Trapped” in Leuser Ecosystem Issue | Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (WALHI) Aceh (Friends of Earth Indonesia-Regional Executive of Aceh), believes that there are parties within the province intend to “trap” Governor of Aceh, Abdullah Zaini related to the utilization of the Leuser Ecosystem (LE) as oil palm cultivation area.

WALHI Aceh Regional Executive Director, M. Nur said that there are those who would like to urge the Governor to issue regulations (gubernatorial) to give ways to the use of the LE into oil palm cultivation sites.

“If such regulation is issued, it will contradict the Act No. 11 issued in 2006 about Aceh Province Governance,” commented M. Nur in writing to acehterkini last week.

“Article 150 in the Act No.11 clearly elaborate the prohibition in issuing concession permits for plots inside the LE,” added M. Nur.

“WALHI is in the position to gently remind the Governor of Aceh, Abdullah Zaini to be mindful on the lure to sign any foreseeable gubernatorial decree designed to contradict the aforementioned Act as it is misleading and might serve as a trap,” M. Nur concluded.

WALHI Aceh has launched an appeal to all stakeholders to take action to rescue the LE. Based on the information obtained by WALHI, there are 5 oil palm plantation companies that have submitted application to obtain permit to build oil palm cultivation sites in East Aceh and Aceh Tamiang.

Similar statements has been conveyed by former Director of WALHI Aceh, Teuku Muhammad Zulfikar. He is concerned about the increasing acts of encroachment and destruction of forest in the Leuser Ecosystem Area (LE), be it the parts in the province of Aceh and North Sumatra. The condition has made many people who take the issues seriously, both locally, nationally and internationally very worried.

“The latest record released by the Leuser Ecosystem Management Agency (BPKEL) some time ago before this institution was dissolved showed that the deforestation in the Leuser Ecosystem in the previous five years (2005-2009) reached 36,000 hectares,” TM. Zulfikar explained in an electronic mail to acehterkini.

Data was captured through remote sensing methods, namely the interpretation of satellite imagery, the LANDSAT (USGS/NASA) showed that in the early 2005, 1.982 million hectares land in LE are covered by forest. In 2009, due to the extensive deforestation, there were 1.946 million hectares of forest left.

It is believed that the deforestation process continue happening until today, especially if there is no serious counter act taken by related institutions responsible for the protection and management of forests in Aceh, especially forest in LE.

“Leuser has been set as the ‘lungs’ of the world, therefore the efforts to rescue the Leuser Ecosystem is not only be the responsibility of the people of Aceh, but also the responsibility of the international community,” TM. Zulfikar, who now serves as Aceh Communication Officer of Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL), summarized. [ at/001 ]