Forest monitoring consortium reveals APP’s moratorium violation of 1,400 ha in Borneo

EoF News / 18 December 2013

EoF News (PEKANBARU) - A Kalimantan-based NGOs consortium dedicated to monitoring deforestation in Indonesia’s part of Borneo released an investigative report on Tuesday, December 17th 2013, which reveals APP’s violation to its own self-imposed moratorium by the clearance of up to 1,400 ha natural forest.

In February 2013, the company announced a new “forest conservation” policy (FCP)”, promising a halt to deforestation and peat degradation. On the contrary, green groups such Eyes on the Forest and Greenomics had previously pointed out the actual very little amount of natural forest  that the touted new policy saved.

In its report, APP Moratorium: Deforestation Continued, RPHK explains about the giant pulp and paper company’s failure to protect up to 1,400 hectares of natural forest in West Kalimantan province which is also the potential habitat of Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), both are endangered according to IUCN Red List and protected by Indonesian law.

 “APP does not appear to take its new forest policy serious,” said Sulhani, Director of Yayasan Titian/ RPHK Coordinator. “Instead of protecting forests in this concession, APP’s supplier focused on deforestation before and even after the moratorium in this concession which still has by far the largest remaining natural forest among APP’s 10 suppliers in Kalimantan.”

Based on field investigation and historical analysis of landsat images, RPHK found that these forests were cleared inside PT. Daya Tani Kalbar (PT DTK) concession, one of APP’s suppliers in Kalimantan, after APP’s self-imposed moratorium on logging and land clearance from 1st February. Meanwhile, APP’s data stated that the company was among the 15 suppliers in Indonesia who had harvested natural forest wood up to the moratorium.

Recently, APP data revealed that the 15 suppliers apparently engaged in very large last minute clearance and harvested more tropical forest wood than APP’s pulp mills needed. APP claimed that only 56% of the natural forest wood harvested before the moratorium (899,663 m3 out of the 1,606,098 m3) had been received by APP’s mills by the self-set deadline of August 31, 2013.

Did not stop there, DTK kept the clearance going in three areas long after the APP moratorium as proven by RPHK investigation in November 2013 and historical satellite image analysis between 30 January and 22 November 2013.

“The clearance of up to 1,400 hectares of natural forest by DTK after the moratorium is in clear violation of APP’s policy. It was done without completed HCV (high conservation value), HCS (high carbon stock) and peat expert assessments,” said Syamsul Rusdi, deputy director of Link-AR Borneo.

Despite a joint field verification by APP, TFT, Greenpeace and JPIK Focal Point in West Kalimantan in September 2013, this continuing forest clearance was not reported by APP and TFT.

On the moratorium breach, APP had previously claimed itself unguilty—as posted on the company’s ‘dashboard’—since the cleared areas are on overlapping location with PT Gerbang Benua Raya (PT GBR), a palm oil company.

The consortium RPHK countered TFT’s explanation saying that “If overlapping allegation in forest clearance is proved true, then it shows failure of PT DTK in fulfilling its legal obligation to prevent illegal logging and illegal land clearing its own concession” .

“It is shameful that APP and its consultant The Forest Trust (TFT) neither prevented DTK continuing to violate the policy nor publicy disclosed its policy breach,” added Sulhani.