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June 21, 2018

Four Culprits Responsible for Increase in Deforestation of Critical Lowland Rainforests

Between April and May 2018, four separate areas of critical lowland rainforests in the Leuser Ecosystem were destroyed. According to satellite analysis, a combined total of 35 hectares of forest were cleared within palm oil concessions operated by palm oil companies PT. Laot Bangko, PT. Nia Yulided, PT. Indo Sawit Perkasa and PT. Tualang Raya. This is an increase in deforestation over recent months and signals the need for further action by global brands in the Snack Food 20, palm oil traders and governments to halt the destruction.

From April 2nd to May 4th, 2018, 16 hectares were cleared inside the PT. Laot Bangko concession.

Laot Bangko satellite analysis imageMap of forest loss within the PT. Laot Bangko concession, May 2018.

Also during this period, a total of 6 hectares were cleared inside the PT. Indo Sawit Perkasa concession.

Indo Sawit satellite analysis imageMap of forest loss within the PT. Indo Sawit Perkasa concession, May 2018.

Between April 17th and May 11th, 2018, 8 hectares were cleared within the PT. Tualang Raya concession.

Tualang Raya satellite analysis image Map of forest loss within the PT. Tualang Raya concession, May 2018.

Lastly, 5 hectares were cleared inside the PT. Nia Yulided concession between April 2nd and May 12th, 2018.

Nia Yulided satellite analysis imageMap of forest loss within the PT. Nia Yulided concession, May 2018.

This forest destruction is in violation of the June 2016 Aceh government circular letter that demanded that palm oil companies operating in the Leuser Ecosystem halt forest clearance. All four of these Conflict Palm Oil producers have been previously profiled by Rainforest Action Network for forest clearance in violation of the circular letter. Since the issuance of the circular letter, a total of 39 hectares have been cleared inside the PT. Laot Bangko concession, a total of 109 hectares inside the PT. Indo Sawit Perkasa concession, a total of 254 hectares inside the PT. Tualang Raya concession and a total of 80 hectares inside the PT. Nia Yulided concession or 482 hectares combined over two years.

Conservation experts consider the lowland rainforest of the Leuser Ecosystem to be some of the most important intact rainforests left in Sumatra for securing the survival of its rich and unique biodiversity. They provide important habitat for some of the last remaining wild populations of critically endangered Sumatran elephants, tigers, rhinos and orangutans. If destruction of the lowland rainforests continues, we stand to lose many of these important species.

The lowland rainforests are also of considerable value to the communities living in the surrounding areas for their important role in providing and regulating the flow of clean water as well as protecting against erosion and flooding.

Global brands, and their palm oil suppliers Golden Agri-Resources, Wilmar and Musim Mas must work alongside governments to enforce a moratorium on forest clearance in existing palm oil plantations and invest in solutions that provide permanent protections for the lowland rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem.

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