APP new policy only protects 5,171 hectares of natural forest

EoF News / 03 April 2013

EoF News (PEKANBARU) --  Eyes on the Forest published today a thorough report  on Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) deforestation record in Riau and response to company’s forest conservation policy as the coalition said it protected “at most 5,000 hectares of natural forest.

The EoF new report published today, Where are the trees?..  disclosed that almost three decades of natural forest pulping by SMG/APP on forests, wildlife and peat soils in Riau, the company’s suppliers’ concessions lost 683,281 ha of natural forest between 1985 and 2012. Of that, 77% was lost in legally questionable ways as these forests had been protected by the TGHK spatial plan, the >3m peat depth limit, and/or the 10% minimum concession forest cover limit. 83% was lost in Sumatran tiger and elephant habitats, 77% was lost on peat.

“Our analysis found that the policy protects at most 5,000 hectares of natural forest in Riau Province, in stark contrast with more than 1.4 million hectares of deforestation we estimate the company’s pulp production in the province has caused,” says Muslim Rasyid of Jikalahari in a press release.

EoF identified 21 pulpwood plantation supplier companies for SMG/APP in Riau. Their concessions covered 929,204 ha and had 188,634 ha of natural forest remaining in 2012. 89% of the remaining forest should not be cleared as they are protected by law and additional 8% protected by APP’s own previous commitments.

The company’s new policy at most protects an additional 5,171 ha. These forests are small fragments scattered across several concessions, possibly too small to make a meaningful contribution to ecosystem conservation or even to survive.

In conclusion, SMG/APP’s FCP has come too late for the tropical ecosystems damaged in the suppliers’ concessions in Sumatra. Combined with the lack of restoration commitment, the conservation benefits of the policy for the company’s historical operational area Sumatra are minimal.

EoF calls on SMG/APP to restore selected peatlands and forests lost in protected, High Carbon Stock and High Conservation Value areas in suppliers’ concessions; stop accepting all tropical forest fiber at all mills by 5 May 2013; mitigate the damages their roads and canals cause to surrounding natural forests, peat soils and wildlife; and provide detailed information on existing and new concession areas and mill expansion plans in Indonesia to allow truly independent monitoring and evaluation of conservation benefits of the FCP.

EoF recommends that APP buyers and other business partners not buy SMG/APP’s products until truly independent monitoring has confirmed that the company has met the above calls and successfully implemented them.

Download Where are the trees

Deforestation driver: pulp and paper at EoF interactive maps