Jikalahari, Greenpeace send open letter to APRIL

EoF Press Release / 07 May 2010

Jikalahari, Greenpeace send open letter to APRIL

Open Letter to APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Limited)

May 06, 2010

Today in Bogor, international consultants Tropenbos will facilitate a public consultation for a High Conservation Value (HCV) assessment for the APRIL pulp and paper operations in the Kampar Peninsula, Riau, Sumatra. This follows a similar consultation in Riau in February that was not attended by Riau based NGOs. For the same - and following - reasons, Greenpeace will not participate in this public consultation.

First of all Greenpeace and Jikalahari firmly believes that Kampar Peninsula must be protected.  It is a critical habitat for endangered biodiversity including the Sumatran tiger, and is home for a number of local communities  who do not want to see the forest destroyed. The people from Teluk Meranti and surrounding villages are opposed to APRIL's plans to convert the forests into pulp-and paper plantations, because they realize the social-economic impacts of these plans.

Furthermore, Kampar Peninsula is essential for climate stability as one of the largest tropical peat swamps in the world.  Covering an area of more than 700,000 hectares, the peat in this area is particularly deep. It stores about 2 billion tones of carbon, more per hectare than any other land ecosystem, so is one of the key global defenses against climate change.

Therefore, any assessment to justify the ongoing conversion of this critical area is unacceptable.  The fact is that this Tropenbos assessment serves to try and legitimize the ongoing conversion of large amounts of forests in Kampar, while setting aside minimal patches of 'HCV', whereas the whole area has such high values that it is not a matter of which areas can be drained and deforested, but that no conversion should occur at all.

Secondly, the land clearing activities in the Kampar by APRIL are illegal according to Indonesian law. The Kampar Peninsula is designated as a protected area according to regulation, PP no.26 2008.  Also according to article 52 and 55 and Presidential Decree No. 32,1990, all area of peatland greater than 3 metres deep should be protected. Greenpeace has presented this case to the Ministry of Environment and urged for the Ministry to investigate accordingly. An HCV assessment in an area that should be off limits according to Indonesian law is therefore redundant. Greenpeace questions the rationale by which Tropenbos agreed to conduct this assessment.

Greenpeace attended the last HCV stakeholder consultation APRIL conducted in November 2009 in Pekanbaru to expose the hypocrisy of APRIL explaining their commitments to protect the Kampar Peninsular, and at the same time APRIL excavators were clearing Kampar's forests and draining peatlands in the south of the Peninsula.

At the time the Ministry of Forestry stepped in and suspended APRIL's permits pending an investigation.  Greenpeace and Jikalahari calls on the Indonesian Government to go further and revoke APRIL and RAPP's permits in the Peninsula and immediately protect the area.  This should be the first step in the implementation of a moratorium on deforestation nationally and the full protection of Indonesia's peatlands.

Furthermore, APRIL must also take responsibility and immediately stop all clearing of natural forest and peat lands. We call upon any other party, e.g. audit companies, customers or foreign donors, to cease their involvement with this company until APRIL has implemented a moratorium on further deforestation and peatland clearance. 


Bustar Maitar, Forest Campaigner Team Leader Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Susanto Kurniawan, Jikalahari