Big fine for illegal forest-clearing in Sumatra

The oil palm company PT Kallista Alam has just been slapped with a fine of over US$9 million for illegally burning forest in the Tripa Peat Swamps, part of the protected Leuser Ecosystem in the Aceh region of northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

Peat swamps under siege...

Peat swamps under siege...

The landmark fine was levied by the Indonesian courts.  The company was also ordered to pay almost US$21 million to help restore the affected forests.

“This is a clear message to companies working in Aceh who think they can destroy protected forests and get away with it”, said Muhammad Nur, Chairman of WALHI Aceh (Friends of the Earth Indonesia).

Protecting the imperiled Leuser forests--the only place on Earth where tigers, orangutans, elephant and rhinos still coexist--has been a key priority for ALERT (see blog on Leuser below).