Palm oil and pulpwood the usual suspects as Papua deforestation persists
JAKARTA — Pulpwood and palm oil companies were among the biggest contributors to the loss of a Manhattan-size area of forest in Indonesia’s Papua region in 2021, a new report says. Using satellite imagery from Planet Labs and its own investigations on the ground, Pusaka, an environmental nonprofit, reported that it had detected 5,810 hectares (14,357 acres) of deforestation in the region. Most of it, 2,286 hectares (5,649 acres), was detected inside logging concessions. ‘We suspect this to be caused by infrastructure development as well as illegal logging and [timber] harvesting,’ Natalia Yelwen, a Pusaka researcher, said during the recent launch of the report. The concession holder with the largest deforested area according to Pusaka is PT Plasma Nutfah Marind Papua (PNMP), which grows pulpwood trees for making paper. A subsidiary of South Korean paper producer Moorim, PNMP was found to have cleared 1,789 hectares (4,421 acres) of forest in its concession in Merauke district, Papua province, according to Pusaka. Based on the latter’s field investigation and information from Indigenous communities living near the concession, PNMP allegedly cleared areas of lowland forest, swamp and peat forest. PNMP camp manager Cha Hyun Soo denied this, saying there are no peat forests within the company’s concession. In an interview with Times of Nation in Jakarta, Cha said the company is operating in accordance with its environmental impact assessment, locally known as Amdal, as well as its working plans. ‘If there’s no Amdal, then there’s no way we could operate,’ he said. ‘Based on the…This article was originally published on Times of Nation
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