16 Nov 2009

Indonesia called on to review oil palm permit system in Papua

5:50 am on 16 November 2009

The Indonesian environmental group, Telapak, says the government should suspend the issuing of permits for oil palm plantations in Papua region until the system is reviewed.

According to a new report from Telapak, oil palm developers in Papua are signing questionable deals that exploit local communities and put forest ecosystems at risk.

The report, "Up for Grabs", warns that five million hectares of land in the part of Indonesia neighbouring Papua New Guinea is being targeted by companies who are not following the law in obtaining permits to cut forests.

Telapak's Hapsoro says there is still time to prevent Papua becoming what he calls "a desolate wasteland" like Sumatra.

"One simple thing that the government should do is to review all of the plantation permits being given so far in Papua. We still have small numbers actually if we compare with the total area of Papua that's been given the permit. So we still have time actually to review all of the permits."