Indonesia — Fires are burning in a peat forest that is the center of contentious court case.
77 “hotspots” have been detected in Tripa peat swamp, including fires set in an oil palm concession granted by Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf to PT. Kallista Alam last August. The plantation is currently facing a legal challenge by local communities and a coalition of environmental groups known as WAHLI, which contend the concession was granted in an area of protected forest and further violated a moratorium on peatlands conversion.
The fires suggest that PT. Kallista Alam is moving ahead with forest clearing despite the legal challenge.
WAHLI fears that continued conversion, degradation, and fragmentation of Tripa will drive the ecosystem’s population of orangutans to extinction. Surveys have Tripa has one of the highest densities of critically endangered Sumatran Orangutans.
The fires will be the subject of a press conference taking place Wednesday in Jakarta.