Plantations Threaten Indonesia’s Orangutans, but they’re Not Oil Palm

Environmental News from Asia: 

  • A significant portion of orangutan habitat in Indonesia lies within corporate concessions, but industrial tree companies, like pulp and paper, don’t have strong enough safeguards and commitment to protect the critically endangered apes, a new report says.
  • According to the report by Aidenvironment, there are 6.22 million hectares (15.37 million acres) of orangutan habitat within corporate oil palm, logging, and industrial tree concessions.
  • Of the three types of concessions, industrial tree companies are the “key stakeholder” as they operate with much less transparency and scrutiny than the palm oil sector, Aidenvironment says.

JAKARTA — The vast majority of orangutan habitat in Indonesia is located outside of protected areas. That can be bad news for orangutans living in corporate concessions, where a new report finds many companies lack safeguards and commitments to protect these critically endangered apes.

The report, by Amsterdam-based sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment, found that Indonesia has 14.1 million hectares (34.8 million acres) of forested habitat suitable for orangutans. Only a quarter of that, or 3.46 million hectares (8.55 million acres), falls within the boundaries of protected areas such as national parks, nature reserves, game reserves and protected forests.

Meanwhile, almost double this amount, 6.22 million hectares (15.37 million acres), lies within corporate oil palm, logging, and industrial tree concessions, according to the analysis. This finding comes from overlaying Aidenvironment’s concession data with data on orangutan habitats derived from the orangutan population and habitat viability assessment (PHVA) carried out by the Indonesian government.

Aidenvironment pointed out that just because there’s orangutan habitat in a corporate concession, it doesn’t necessarily mean there are orangutans still living in the concession.

However, based on observations, orangutans are often found within areas with human activities, instead of in primary natural forests with no disturbance, according to Belinda Arunarwati Margono, the Indonesian environment ministry’s director of forest resource monitoring.

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Source: Mongabay

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