3. Clearing before permits
In the course of an investigation in Indonesia, NGOs the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Jaringan Pementau Independen Kehutanan (JPIK) identified large-scale clearing in an area of forest, where government maps that had already been obtained indicated there was no relevant permit. EIA and JPIK were able to discover the name of the company operating in the area, and identified timber being harvested in the concession and moved to nearby sawmills. However, provincial government databases did not include permits for the named concession. After several months, an Environmental Impact Assessment for the concession was obtained, not through government sources but in a village close to the concession. This included maps showing the boundaries of the concession, that were then digitised by a GIS analyst. Overlaying these boundaries with several Landsat images showed the month in which clearing began, and how much forest was cleared over the course of several months. EIA/JPIK obtained confirmation from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry that the company did not yet have legal rights to clear the forest.
The report including these findings can be downloaded here [PDF].