Blocking canal protects peatland in Kampar Semenanjung: Govt experts

Blocking canal protects peatland in Kampar Semenanjung: Govt experts

23 April 2010

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Indonesia —    An independent expert team set up by the Forestry Ministry disclosed Wednesday the blocking canal built in Kampar Semenanjung area in Riau was effective to manage water level in peatland averting the area from releasing emissions.

The team said the eco-hydro system by pulp and paper mill PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) could also prevent fires in peat-prone areas.

A team member, Budi Setiawan, who is also a water resources management expert from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) said that the eco-hydro system could not make peat dome being dried.

“But, we recommend all companies operating in Kampar Semenanjung area to develop the eco-hydro to make it more effective in maintaining the water level,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

There are currently about 25 industrial timber estates operating in Semenanjung Kampar area.

Other team members include Basuki Sumawinata from IPB, Petrus Gunarso from Tropenbos Indonesia, Muhajir Utomo of Lampung University and Wawan from the Riau University.

Senior official from forestry ministry, Herman Daryanto, and representative of Riau-based environmental agency Fadrizal Labay were also included in the team.

The report was made to respond to growing protests from the activists over blocking canal in Kampar Semenanjung on fears that it could further damage forest in peatland and speed up the release of emissions that would worsen the climate change.

The RAPP then voluntarily closes its operation in the area to allow the government to check Kampar.

President of RAPP Kusnan Rahmin hailed the finding and recommendation by the independent expert team.

“RAPP welcomes the recommendation from the independent expert team and we promise to implement it,” he said in a statement to The Jakarta Post.

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