January 28, 2020

Law enforcement still effective in orangutan capital of world

JAKARTA ( - The single remaining peat forest block in the Tripa peat swamp landscape, dubbed the orangutan capital of the world, spans an area equal to around five thousand football fields.

This peat forest block, almost all of which lies in two palm oil concessions and across part of the Leuser Ecosystem, has shown great resilience, thanks largely to the efforts of Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya. 

The two palm oil concessions in question - PT SPS-2 and PT Kallista Alam - are situated in Aceh’s Nagan Raya regency. The ministry’s law enforcement team has been consistent in taking legal measures against these companies with regard to legal compliance. 

In fact, the robustness of the uniquely vast peat forest block demonstrates that a series of law enforcement moves made by Minister Nurbaya, aimed at the forests’ preservation, have proven to be remarkably effective.

Time series-based satellite images analyzed by the spatial team highlight the effectiveness of the law enforcement actions taken to preserve the single remaining peat forest block in the Tripa peat forest landscape.

It is clear that from the end of December 2018 until late January 2020, this peat forest block in the orangutan capital of the world has retained relatively good forest cover, as portrayed in the following satellite images.

Among the constructive steps taken by Minister Nurbaya was her issuance of a legal basis for incorporating the Leuser Ecosystem into an integral and inseparable part of the Aceh spatial plan, as reported by in early November 2016.

This was done because the 2013 Aceh spatial plan legal document did not include the Leuser Ecosystem’s boundaries. Fortunately, this situation was rectified by the minister’s bold legal move.

The Leuser Ecosystem - a sweeping area more than 36 times the size of Singapore - is the only place on the earth inhabited by flagship species such as the Sumatran orangutan, tiger, elephant and rhino.

The clearing of the single remaining peat forest block in the Tripa landscape, one of the peat ecosystems in the Leuser Ecosystem, for palm oil expansion would signal the end of its existence.  

Considering that there is no other option but to save the single remaining peat forest block in the Tripa landscape, the effective legal enforcement actions undertaken on the ground by Minister Nurbaya are especially praiseworthy.