No new license for use of peat lands: Forestry minister

Jambi (ANTARA News) - Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said license not yet used for peat land exploitation would be cancelled to minimize bush and forest fires.

"New license to use peat land is definitely banned," Siti Nurbaya said when on a visit here on Tuesday.

She said license already issued and the land has been cleared but not yet cultivated would be canceled, she added.

Exploitation of peat land, which is a source of water is also banned, she said, adding license already issued has to be withheld as "regulation on it is yet to be issued."

Earlier, head of the Jambi forestry office irmansyah said moratorium was already officially in force since 2012 on the use of peat lands both in forest area or outside forest areas.

"Moratorium is still officially in force since 2012 and management of peat land is with the building of canal blocking," Irmansyah said.

The canal blocking is to set the height of water surface, which is at least 40 centimeters higher than the surface of peat land to keep the peat wet, he said.

Dry peat during the lengthy drought has triggered forest fires that have ravaged millions of hectares of the countrys tropical forest over the past three months.(*)