Project May 24, 2023

Palm Oil in Senunsur Sembulu



Senunsur Sembulu II Protected Forest Area is located in East Belitung Regency, Bangka Belitung Islands. This protected forest area is a natural habitat for three important endemic animals, namely the binturong (Arctictis binturong), and pangolin (Manis javanica). It is also the remaining habitat for the Bangka tarsier or mentilin (Cephalopachus bancanus). These three endemic animals are designated as protected animals in the Indonesia's Minister of Environment and Forestry Regulation No. P.20/MENLHK/SETJEN/KUM.1/6/2018.

All three are also endangered and on the radar of The International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN Red List). Based on the latest IUCN assessment, February 6, 2016, the binturong is categorized as vulnerable due to its dwindling population in the wild. The Bangka tarsier is in the same position with a population of 19-20 individuals per square kilometer as of the last observation on 22 November 2015. Meanwhile, over the past 21 years, the rate of decline in the population of mackerel has continued to fall by 80 percent.

It is strongly suspected that palm oil company PT KLK Agriservindo (PT KLKA) and two other related companies are responsible for the loss of land in the Senunsur Sembulu II Protection Forest. The other two companies are PT Steelindo Wahana Perkasa (SWP) and PT Agro Makmur Abadi (AMA).

The three companies illegally expanded their plantation areas and encroached on the Senunsur Sembulu II Protection Forest. The companies allegedly used the social forestry partnership scheme to expand their oil palm plantation areas. This allegation arose when the validity period of PT SWP's Land Use Rights expired in December 2020. To circumvent this license, the company formed cooperatives on behalf of farmers or local communities. The cooperatives are Bersatu Maju Sejahtera Cooperative, Subur Makmur Cooperative, and Jaya Mandiri Business Cooperative.

Various other violations were also committed by the Malaysian company, namely: palm oil smuggling, tax evasion as evidenced by the company's third tax report, and smuggling of heavy equipment and factory equipment through illegally built ports near the plantation sites.