Indonesia's government said on Monday it would protect a strip of peatland in Aceh province at the centre of an international storm over palm oil development, in a case that had become a test of the country's commitment to halt deforestation.
Indonesia imposed a two-year moratorium on clearing forest last May under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, but the former governor of the country's westernmost Aceh province breached the ban by issuing a permit to a palm oil firm to develop the peatland.
This prompted legal action from environmental groups and probes by the police and several government bodies.
The resulting preliminary investigation showed that the permit was issued to palm oil firm Kallista Alam without following proper procedures, a government official said.
The forest, home to endangered orangutans, was partly cleared by burning, even before the permit was issued, said ...