The Practice of Peatland Rehabilitation

In Kalimantan, the mining sector has a significant environmental impact on forested lands. For this reason, mining companies that obtain Borrow-to-Use Forest Area Permits (IPPKH) are responsible for carrying out forest rehabilitation of damaged Watershed Areas (DAS).

The obligation of mining companies to rehabilitate watershed areas provides an opportunity for service companies to implement the rehabilitation projects on their behalf. To meet this need, PT. Andalan Alam Perkasa (AAP) has established a seedling nursery to raise selected species of forest and fruit trees for forest rehabilitation projects on peat and mineral soils.

The AAP seedling nursery raises a selection of native species suited to peatlands and uplands

The AAP nursery occupies a small area of 1.5 hectares on Jalan Tjilik Riwut, in Palangka Raya. Here, this forest rehabiliatation company raises thousands of tree seedlings of various types, including Balangeran (Shorea Balangeran), Bangkirai (Shorea laevis), Jelutung (Dyera Costulata), Tengkawang (Shorea), and Sengon (Albizia Chinensis). In addition to these native rainforest species, AAP also grows fruit trees such as Durian (Durio), Jengkol (Archidendron pauciflorum), Petai (Parkia Speciosa), and Matoa (Pometia Pinnata).

Pak Faishol has overall responsibility for the rehabilitation projects

Faishol Hamis (25), the commissioner of AAP, explained that species selection is determined through a collective agreement made between the company, government and community. The AAP team also gets involved in discussion between the sponsor company and the local government during the project socialization phase. “We always talk to the community to determine what types of species they want us to plant. If the project is in the peatlands, both the community and the company usually want to plant Balangaran,” said Faishol.

Balangeran is indeed easy to grow on peat, with a good survival rate of 80%. In the nursery, each plant grows to 40-50cm before it is ready for out-planting. As a native pioneer species, Balangeran usually grows well in peatlands and can later provide high-quality timber.

These Balangeran seedlings are ready to plant in the field

For each of the forest rehabilitation projects they deliver, AAP is responsible not only for the initial site survey, nursery work and out-planting, but also for ongoing site maintenance for three years, during which time AAP is obliged to ensure the survival of the seedlings.

“All of our seedlings must survive in accordance with the work contract. We are obliged to replace any that die with new ones,” said Faishol. For this reason, AAP monitors all of the work that is performed in the field, including the level of community participation.

Seedlings need regular care and maintenance

Having commenced their operations in 2020, AAP has now rehabilitated 1,100 hectares of land in Kapuas Regency and 450 hectares in Pulang Pisau Regency. A further 450 hectares will be planted in Pulang Pisau Regency within the next two months.

Community Benefits

Faishol thinks that having the mandatory rehabilitation program for mining companies is good for local communities. “Local people can get new work opportunities at the planting stage, and can also derive economic benefits from the trees in the long-term,” said Faishol. “Here at the seedling nursery alone, we have 20 full-time workers. Our target is to grow around 50,000 seedlings per month,” said Faishol.

Nursery work provides steady jobs and income for local people

When planting, AAP offers job opportunities to the surrounding community first. And after the final handover by the government or sponsor company, the community is then allowed to extract benefits from the rehabilitated area in the form of non-timber forest products.

However, restoring land is quite expensive. Faishol explained that for the standard planting plan of 714 seedlings per hectare, each Balangeran seedling costs Rp.2000. “The cost of growing, transporting, planting and caring for the seedlings, plus the wages for the workers then amounts to around Rp. 20-30 million per hectare. Moreover, we must also ensure that the number of trees that survive is the same as in the work contract,” said Faishol.