Korindo allegedly burning Papuan forests for palm oil

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

A new report alleges that Korindo, the largest palm oil company operating in Indonesian Papua, has destroyed 30,000 hectares of forest on the island since 2013, including through the criminal use of fire.

Burning Paradise, published by a coalition of Indonesian and international NGOs, found that more than a third of the forests destroyed by Korindo were intact primary forests. Satellite data analysis indicated that ‘hotspot’ data – an indication of land fires – correlated closely with areas developed soon after by Korindo for palm oil.

The large-scale use of fire to clear land for oil palm development is a criminal offence under Indonesian law.

Korindo denied the allegations in a statement to Reuters and blamed people living near its concessions for starting the fires. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry told Reuters it had sent a team to Papua to investigate the allegations.

Korindo is a large Korean conglomerate with interests in logging, pulpwood, plywood and oil palm. The firm holds 149,000 ha of oil palm concessions in Papua, and 11,000 ha in Maluku Province. As of June 2016, an estimated 75,000 ha of forests still remained within the company’s Papuan concessions.

164 fire hotspots were recorded in Korindo’s PT DP concession in June 2015. Source: Landsat 8, FIRMS, Fire Information for Resource Management System, http://go.nasa.gov/27awNFg and Mighty

Sentinel-2 image, May 2016. Brown patches show the area cleared by Korindo subsidiary PT DP, which includes 500 ha of primary forest and 2300 ha of secondary forest. Source: Aidenvironment and Mighty