NGOs question APRIL’s policy implementation as APRIL’s breach of deforestation moratorium proven

EoF News / 27 August 2015

PEKANBARU (EoF News) – APRIL published an audit report by its consultant Hatfield which confirmed an Eyes on the Forest report that APRIL’s wood supplier, PT. Adindo Hutani Lestari (AHL) in North Kalimantan, had breached APRIL’s forest and peatland clearance moratorium starting 15 May 2015.

The moratorium was part of the company’s Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0  published on 3 June as well as part of Royal Golden Eagle’s “Forestry, Fibre, Pulp & Paper Sustainability Framework” published on 2 June.

On 22 June, EoF had reported forest clearance of 71 ha between 15 May and 9 June. Hatfield’s analysis published two month later confirmed that 39 ha of “standing” tree areas were cleared. In addition, Hatfield found that 73 ha of “scrub” and “felled” areas became “ready for planting” (bare soil).

EoF believes that the low accuracy of Hatfield’s classification of the two land covers (“scrub” and “felled”) makes this finding inconclusive, some of the 73 ha could have been clearance of high carbon stock areas on peat. However, APRIL decided the 73 ha were not a violation and ordered AHL to only rehabilitate the 39 ha.

Previously, EoF had repeatedly reported on AHL’s violations of APRIL’s initial SFMP 1.0 after it had been published in January 2014. The company had continued to clear natural forests on peat without proper HCV and HCS assessment and sometimes in violation of government laws and regulations.

“Considering the long history of violations by AHL and the continuing lack of proper HCV and HCS assessment in APRIL concessions, EoF considers this downplaying of the violation questionable,” said Aditya Bayunanda of WWF-Indonesia. “APRIL should have stopped all excavators until proper assessments were completed to implement its new SFMP 2.0.

Aditya said, “The size of APRIL’s violation is small compared to the company’s huge land bank, but this case and APRIL’s response once again have shown the intentional or unintentional lack of APRIL’s understanding and improper implementation of its own policy.”

Woro Supartinah of Jikalahari said that it was good that APRIL published the consultant report and proved EoF’s assessments to be correct. “However, APRIL still seems to be misunderstanding civil society’s criticisms that its green commitment so far has only been lip service. We call on APRIL to implement its moratorium properly and immediately commission proper HCV and HCS assessments for all the concessions where it wants to continue or start operation,” she added.

"We wonder why APRIL did not task it’s consultant to produce a baseline land cover map for all supplier areas and not only two concessions”, said Kamiruddin of Gapeta Borneo  in Kalimantan. For instance, APRIL operates several concessions with big tracts of natural forests in Kalimantan, he said. “If we find moratorium violations in these concessions, do we need to spend 2 months just waiting for the consultant trying to create a map again?”

Related stories:

APRIL supplier violates new forest policy, peatland forest in Borneo cleared after moratorium issued

NGOs unimpressed with published APRIL moratorium baseline