Kalimantan forest monitoring consortium: APP supplier continues forest clearance after moratorium

EoF Press Release / 17 December 2013

Up to 1,400 ha peatland forest cleared in violation of APP’s forest conservation policy

PONTIANAK, West Kalimantan – RPHK (Relawan Pemantau Hutan Kalimantan), an NGO consortium dedicated to monitoring Kalimantan’s natural forest, released a report today revealing that the “forest conservation policy” of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) / Sinar Mas Forestry (SMG) announced in February failed to protect up to 1,400 hectares of natural forest in West Kalimantan province.

Field investigation and Landsat image analysis show that these forests were cleared inside PT. Daya Tani Kalbar concession, after APP’s self-imposed moratorium on logging and land clearance from 1st February.

APP had excluded these forests from the moratorium in their “moratorium map”, despite being on peat and potential habitat of Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), both 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.”

According to APP data, PT Daya Tani Kalbar (DTK) 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.

Apparently, this surplus of wood meant little for DTK and APP. An RPHK investigation in November 2013 and historical satellite image analysis between 30 January and 22 November found that DTK continued to clear natural forest on peat soil in three areas long after the APP moratorium.

“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.

“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.

“These repeated violations of APP’s no-deforestation policy show how important truly independent audits are” says Ian Hilman of WWF-Indonesia. “CSOs will continue monitoring the companies’ forestry operations in the field to inform the public of what is really happening on the ground and to ensure that APP improve its transparency.”

Notes to Editor:

The new RPHK report “APP Moratorium: Deforestation Continued” can be downloaded at: www.rphkalimantan.org

RPHK(Kalimantan Forest Monitoring NGOs) member groups include:

  • AKAR, an illegal wildlife crime monitoring network in Borneo, actively raising public awareness about the importance of wildlife protection and their habitat.
  • Link-AR Borneo (Lingkaran Advokasi dan Riset), a civil society organization focusing on advocacy based-on research or investigation related to land plunder and biodiversity degradation, as well as community empowerment. More info: www.linkarborneo.com. Contact person: Ahmad Asmungin, mobile: +62-852-4554-7486, email: lingkarborneoa@gmail.com
  • SAMPAN (Sahabat Masyarakat Pantai), a civil society organization focusing on advocacy for coastal and watershed communities. More info: www.sampankalimantan.org. Contact person: Baruni Hendri, mobile: +62-852-2521-30044, email: perkumpulansampan@gmail.com
  • TITIAN, an active biodiversity conservation institute for local community sustainable benefits in West Kalimantan. Contact person: Sulhani (Director), mobile: +62-561-6589-198
  • WWF-Indonesia, the largest and the oldest environmental NGO in Indonesia. WWF-Indonesia started working in Indonesia since 1962. Currently, this organization delivers conservation in 28 field offices from Aceh to Papua and has more than 400 staff. Since 2006, WWF-Indonesia is supported by more than 54,000 supporters. More info, please visit www.wwf.or.id. Contact person: Ian Hilman, mobile: +62-812-5551-9381, email: ihilman@wwf.or.id

Download RPHK report here