Aceh is preparing to open over 1.2 million hectares of protected forest for the development of mines, plantations, roads, logging and palm oil expansion.
This has been confirmed by The Chairman of the Aceh Parliament's spatial planning committee, Mr Anwar, who told the Sydney Morning Herald that the proposed plan would reduce the total forest cover of Aceh from its existing coverage of about 68 per cent of Aceh's total land area, to just 45 per cent, representing the destruction of more than 1.2 million hectares, including the entire area known as Tripa, and other currently protected areas inside of the Leuser Ecosystem, a National Strategic Area for its Environmental Protection Function that is protected by National Spatial Planning Law 26/2007, and Government Regulation 26/2008.
This planned destruction is the result of a 'prefect storm' of planning failures. Firstly, the end of the 'Norway Moratorium on Primary Forests. Secondly the end of the former Governor of Aceh, 'Irwandi's Moratorium on logging' addressed by Mr Anwar in his interview with the Sydney Morning Herald on Jan 15, 2013 ''The nature of the logging moratorium is that it's temporary, so it can be revoked any time,'' and these two events, combined with huge planned changes in 'forest function' meaning, areas previously protected for their natural ecological services, such as preventing land slides and floods, will now be opened as mines, plantations, roads, logging and palm oil expansion. Alarmingly, areas that previously held the protected status of 'wildlife corridor' are being planned to become 'community plantation' which is set to escalate human wildlife conflict as the last of Sumatras Tigers, Elephants, Rinos and Orangutans will be surely pushed to extinction.
The petition is asking the Governor, and Vice Governor of Aceh, Zaini and Muzakir to reconsider pushing such destruction onto their province, and to ask the donor representatives of the world, who have invested so much already to the protection of Acehs forests, to assist with the funding and technical support for the Aceh Government to revisit and revise this potential disaster.