edited by OC’s Tom from a press release
At a historic ceremony this week in the middle of Sumatra’s Tripa peat swamps,
Mr. Husaini Syamaun, the Head of the Aceh Forestry Department, formally declared a new 1,455 hectare Protected Peat Area in the Tripa peat swamp region of the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia.
The ceremony marked the successful conclusion of an Aceh government program to block 18 illegal canals draining the peat. Mr. Husaini unveiled a signboard marking the official boundary of the new protected area and symbolically planted a tree on one of the recently constructed dams blocking the canals. Husaini confirmed “Aceh’s Government is firmly committed to protecting all peat areas deeper than three meters”.
The event was attended by local government and law enforcement agencies, local community leaders, NGO’s and the press. Community representative, Cut Erlianda, explained, “Local people support the government’s initiative to protect Tripa and hope to be actively involved in its management.”
Over 60,000 trees have already been planted in the newly protected area, with another 120,000 scheduled to be planted over the next month. The area declared as a Protected Peat Swamp was previously awarded illegally to the company PT Kallista Alam, as an oil palm concession area, but in a case that garnered global media attention, a high profile legal challenge against the permit by Acehnese environmental group WALHI Aceh (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) was successful, resulting in Aceh’s Governor formally cancelling the concession in 2012.
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