Forest and land fires in Indonesia in 2015 was caused by palm oil producers.

Kebakaran hutan dan lahan di Indonesia tahun 2015 dilakukan oleh pelaku perkebunan sawit.

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If one looks at the threat of heavy punishments for those setting forest fires, common sense says it is unlikely corporations would do this. Indonesian laws and regulations impose heavy sanctions on companies found to have deliberately set forest and land fires. The sanctions include imprisonment and heavy fines.

Article 78 paragraph 3 and paragraph 4 of the 2009 Forestry Law stipulates sentences of from five to 15 years or a fine of Rp 5 billion at the maximum for perpetrators of forest fires; while article 187 of the Criminal Code threatens a sentence of 12 years. Article 48 paragraph 1 of the 2004 Plantations Law, Article 108 of the 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law stipulates sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up to Rp 10 billion.

Then there is Government Regulation No. 1502000 on the control of land damage for biomass production with sanctions against perpetrators, and referring to the 1997 Environment Management Law, which stipulates that perpetrators of environmental crimes are subject to: (1) confiscation of benefits obtained from the criminal acts; and/or (2) closure of whole or part of the company; and/or (3) reparation due to the criminal acts; and/or (4) obligation to work on what has been neglected without any rights; and/or (5) nullifying what has been neglected without any right; and/or (6) putting the company under supervision for three years at a maximum.

An examination of the weight of the sanctions and punishments imposed on perpetrators of land fires in corporations, shows it is hard to believe that plantation owners would risk their investments worth trillions of rupiah by setting forest and land fires to clear land to save a few billion rupiah. It would seem that only irrational entrepreneurs would carry out land clearance by burning.

Besides the heavy punishments, losses resulting from forest and land fires also cause declines in productivity of oil palm plantations. Results of a study by the Oil Palm Research Center disclose that impacts of drought alone (Table) can reduce productivity by 28-41 percent and yields by 06-2.5. Meanwhile, haze affects the process of formation and growth of oil palm fruit, thereby reducing productivity by about 0.2-5.5 percent. This means the potential loss per hectare due to declining productivity caused by forest and land fires in the surrounding areas could reach up to Rp 12-15 million per hectare.

Table:   Losses suffered by oil palm plantations due to drought and haze

DescriptionImpacts of Drought & Haze
A. Productivity Decline (%)0.2-5.5*
Age 9-20 year28-31**
Age> 20 year29-41**
B. Yield Decline (%)0.6-2.5**

Source: PPKS. * only haze ** only drought

With such potential losses in oil palm plantations caused by haze from fires, it is difficult to believe that oil palm plantations either individually or collectively carry out burning, which would cause losses to themselves. It is also difficult for common sense to accept that oil palm plantations deliberately left land fires in the surrounding areas unattended as that would cause losses in the form of productivity declines. Of course all have to share the responsibility for extinguishing fires, regardless of who initiates them.

Jika dilihat beratnya hukuman berikut bagi pembakar lahan dan hutan, akal sehat mengatakan tidak akan mungkin korporasi melakukannya. Regulasi Indonesia memberikan sanksi yang berat kepada perusahaan jika didapati dengan sengaja membuka lahan secara membakar. Sanksi ini bahkan dikenakan secara berlapis, selain kurungan badan juga dikenakan denda.

Undang-Undang nomor 41 tahun 2009 tentang Kehutanan, Pasal 78 ayat 3 dan ayat 4 mengatur lama hukuman 5 sampai 15 tahun, atau denda paling banyak Rp 5 miliar, dalam pasal 187 KUHP dengan ancaman 12 tahun penjara. Kemudian pasal 48 ayat 1 Undang-Undang nomor 18 tahun 2004 tentang Perkebunan, Pasal 108 Undang-Undang nomor 32 tahun 2009 tentang Perlindungan dan Pengelolaan Lingkungan Hidup dengan ancaman pidana penjara paling lama 10 tahun atau denda Rp 10 miliar.

Selanjutnya ada lagi Peraturan Pemerintah nomor 150 tahun 2000 tentang Pengendalian Kerusakan Tanah untuk Produksi Biomassa yang sanksi pelaku perusakan/pencemaran tanah dijerat dengan merujuk pada Undang-Undang nomor 23 tahun 1997 tentang Pengelolaan Lingkungan Hidup yang berbunyi terhadap pelaku tindak pidana lingkungan hidup dapat pula dikenakan tindakan tata tertib berupa: (1) perampasan keuntungan yang diperoleh dari tindak pidana; dan/atau (2) penutupan seluruhnya atau sebagian perusahaan; dan/atau (3) perbaikan akibat tindak pidana; dan/atau (4) mewajibkan mengerjakan apa yang dilalaikan tanpa hak; dan/atau (5) meniadakan apa yang dilalaikan tanpa hak; dan/atau (6) menempatkan perusahaan di bawah pengampunan paling lama tiga tahun.

Dengan melihat beratnya sanksi dan hukuman yang dijeratkan kepada pelaku pembakaran lahan untuk korporasi apakah mungkin para pemilik perkebunan akan mempertaruhkan investasi triliunan rupiah hanya demi berhemat beberapa miliar dalam pembukaan lahan. Rasanya hanya pengusaha yang irasional akan melakukan pembukaan lahan dengan cara membakar.

Selain sanksi hukum tersebut, kerugian akibat kebakaran hutan dan lahan juga menimbulkan penurunan produktivitas perkebunan kelapa sawit. Hasil penelitian Pusat Penelitian Kelapa Sawit, mengungkapkan bahwa dampak kekeringan saja (Tabel) dapat menurunkan 28-41 persen produktivitas dan 0,6-2,5 persen rendemen. Sementara akibat kabut asap membuat proses pembentukan dan pertumbuhan buah kelapa sawit terganggu sehingga menurunkan produktivitas sekitar 0,2-5,5 persen. Hal ini berarti potensi kerugian per hektar akibat penurunan produktivitas yang disebabkan kebakaran hutan dan lahan disekitarnya dapat mencapai 12-15 juta per hektar.

Tabel.     Kerugian Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit Jika Terjadi Kekeringan dan Kabut Asap

UraianDampak Kekeringan & Asap
A. Penurunan Produktivitas (%)0,2-5,5*
Umur 9-20 tahun28-31**
Umur > 20 tahun29-41**
B. Penurunan Rendemen (%)0,6-2,5**

Sumber : PPKS, * hanya asap ** hanya kekeringan

 

Dengan potensi kerugian perkebunan kelapa sawit akibat kabut asap kebakaran tersebut, sulit diterima akal sehat bahwa perkebunan kelapa sawit baik secara individu maupun secara kolektif melakukan pembakaran yang justru akan merugikan dirinya sendiri. Bahkan juga sulit diterima akal sehat jika perkebunan kelapa sawit secara sengaja membiarkan kebakaran lahan di sekitarnya karena akan menimbulkan kerugian berupa penurunan produktivitas. Tentu saja semua harus ikut bertanggung jawab untuk mencegah terjadinya kebakaran, siapa dan apapun penyebabnya.

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