An accurate map showing the extent of last year’s widespread and destructive fires needs to be finalized by means of a spatial verification process and on-the-ground inspections, given that to date the Indonesian government is still referring to the existing, unverified indicative map.

In light of this, such on-the-ground verifications at the locations of the peat fires are being continuously undertaken by the Environment and Forestry Ministry, most notably in forestry concession areas.

Meanwhile, a spatial analysis performed by foresthints.news using Google Earth images demonstrates that not all the peatlands burned in the Sinarmas Forestry pulpwood concessions in South Sumatra province last year are covered in the existing indicative map of burned peatlands.

 Indonesia’s largest environmental NGO, WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia), has emphatically stated that last year’s widespread peat fires in Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)’s pulpwood concessions were intentional. Proof of this, WALHI asserts, lies in the fact that these burned peatlands have now been replanted with acacia by the giant pulp company.

According to the leading NGO, the use of burned peatlands for the replanting of acacia is a move aimed at pursuing targets, given that the acacia yielded from this replanting will later become a source of fiber supply for the new APP company, PT OKI Pulp and Paper Mills. This new mill, which has begun operations, is located in the vicinity of the burned peatlands in the APP concessions, major parts of which were burned last year.