September 3, 2018

Canals being developed in sold Triputra concession

( - PT Pinang Witmas Abadi (PWA), a palm oil company recently sold by the Triputra Group whose concession lies within the habitat of the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan, has been engaging in the large-scale development of new canals as part of its efforts to make way for new palm oil plantations.

Triputra’s sale of the palm oil concession was first revealed by at the end of March this year. PT PWA, which is situated in a peat ecosystem in West Kalimantan’s Kubu Raya regency, was granted a permit in late September 2011.

The sold Triputra concession is dominated by peat forests inhabited by the Bornean orangutan, as portrayed in a video previously posted by in early April this year, prior to the onset of new canal construction. 

Some of the affected parts of the forested peatlands being drained in the concession are depicted in the photos below, taken by (Mar 26).

New canals in the sold Triputra concession were constructed during July-August, and ongoing peat fires have been detected in the concession (Aug 20), as shown in the following Planet Explorer image.

Several GAMA-owned palm oil concessions situated near to the sold Triputra concession were recently sealed by the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry due to the proliferation of fire spots within their concessions, as reported by (Aug 28)

Time-series evidence derived from the following Planet Explorer images, analyzed by the spatial team, demonstrates one part of the peat forests in the sold Triputra concession in which new canals are being developed. 

Arif P Rachmat, CEO of the Triputra Group, told in late March this year that any requests for accountability from his business group due to new peat development were irrelevant seeing that the concession has been sold. 

Crackdown on peat violations 

In early December 2016, President Joko Widodo placed a ban on new peat development, including and especially new canal construction which leads to the drainage of peatlands, as is happening in the sold Triputra concession.

A number of palm oil and forestry companies controlled by various conglomerates which have been proven to be involved in new peat development since the issuance of the President’s ban have been hit with severe sanctions from Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya.

One of these companies is PT GAN, a GAMA-owned concession which obtained a permit in late September 2014. This concession is situated right next to the sold Triputra concession which is undertaking new canal development, a practice sure to result in peat drainage.