TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia said that 77 percent of the Tesso Nilo National Park`s land in Riau has been occupied by palm oil producers.
“The size of the forest has shrunken to 14,000 hectares,” WWF Indonesia policy, sustainability, and transformation director Aditya Bayunanda said in Jakarta on Thursday, October 19.
Aditya revealed that most of the land had been cleared for oil palm plantations. The government, he said, is faced with challenges to enforcing the law since local people are depending on the plantations. However, the fact is that business owners are controlling them to exploit the land.
It was found that more than 40,000 hectares of the land had been cleared for plantations. Most of the owners are people from Pekanbaru, Jakarta, and former public officials.
“The former Riau Land Agency head has been named as a suspect for allegedly running a plantation in the forest area,” he said.
The government is planning to make Tesso Nilo as a conservation pilot project that will involve various stakeholders. Local people who use the land as plantations will be relocated, and the government will enforce the law against illegal plantations.