WWF to APRIL: stop draining our peat soils, converting our forests

EoF News / 13 February 2013

EoF News (PEKANBARU) –  Following last week’s announcement by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) to stop clearing Indonesian forests and peatlands, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) urged Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL)  to “change their unsustainable business model” immediately.

Herewith full press release received by Eyes on the Forest this week:

"Tuesday’s announcement by Asia Pulp & Paper that it has stopped all clearance of Indonesian forests puts its competitor APRIL in a tight spot.

“APRIL is now the single largest converter of natural forest among Indonesia’s pulp producers,” said Nazir Foead, Conservation Director of WWF-Indonesia. “We urge the company to immediately change their unsustainable business model and stop draining our peat soils and converting our forests”.

The Sumatran NGO coalition Eyes on the Forest reported that APRIL has become the Province of Riau’s largest agent of deforestation, cutting at least 140,000 ha of tropical forest, mostly located on peat soils, between 2008 and 2011. APRIL was thus responsible for almost 1/3 of all tropical forest loss in Riau during that period.

APRIL’s public commitments to sustainable and natural forest fiber free operations after 2009 has been greenwashing. APRIL in Riau knowingly pulped natural forest wood from concessions inside areas that were designated for protection according to national regulations. The company’s operations caused serious conflict with local communities especially on loss of  traditionally owned forests and land, and degradation of natural resources.

Two thirds of the company’s supplying concessions in Riau are located on peat soils whose deforestation, drainage and associated decomposition are leading to constant green house gas emissions.

“Despite being in business for 17 years and having access to concessions covering 10% of Riau’s landmass, the company still relies on pulping tropical forests,” said Nazir Foead. “After their devastating deforestation of Riau in Sumatra, the company now appears to be developing their next epicenter of deforestation on the island of Borneo.”

“WWF calls on APRIL to stop pulping tropical forests, solve social conflicts and restore the forests and peatlands it has destroyed,” said Aditya Bayunanda, GFTN and pulp & paper manager of WWF Indonesia, “and calls on companies to avoid being associated with the business practices of APRIL and its associated companies.”

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