Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) spokesperson Nunu Anugrah in a written statement on Sunday said most of the deforestation for oil palm plantations in Papua and West Papua took place from 2005-2014 or during the administration of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or SBY.
He said Papua's area was roughly 472 times larger than Jakarta and 70 percent of its forests were on a permanent moratorium map.
"It is clearly untrue that the deforestation was as if engineered in President Jokowi's era," said Anugrah in November 14's statement, responding to news about the satellite images of Papua's deforestation taken by the The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from 2001 to 2019.
According to Nunu, the satellite images that news agencies were referring to were palm concessions of PT Dongin Prabhawa located in the Papua's Merauke district, and were part of the Korindo business group. He claimed the forest-clearing approved by former Forestry Ministry MS Kaban under President SBY's government (Oct 5, 2009) amounted to 34,057 hectares, or more than half of Jakarta.
He explained that satellite images of Papua's deforestation in the Dongin Prabhawa palm concession were granted from 2011 or two years after the forest-clearing for the construction of the company in 2011. Anugrah said deforestation broadened from 2012 up to 2016.
However, referring to satellite images from 2017 to 2019, the growth of deforestation stopped. He insisted the data could be confirmed easily through Google Earth. He believed it was irrelevant to conclude that Papua's deforestation could be blamed on palm concession areas that were cited by news agencies.
Tempo tried to confirm the ministry's statement to Korindo but has yet to receive any replies until this publication.