Report: APP clearcuts peat forests in Libo and Giam Siak Kecil blocks

EoF Investigative Report / 27 June 2006

Eyes on the Forest Investigative Report June 2006  Block Libo – findings in April 2016 

Eyes on the Forest investigation in April 2006 found that Amal Hutemas Bina Bonai Foundation was clearcutting natural forest in Libo Forest Block, area of recent tragedy of Riau elephants. This logging activity was conducted inside a palm oil concession of PT. Rokan Adi  Makmur, part of Rokan Group. Eyes on the Forest’s chain of custody investigation confirmed that timber from this logging operation was supplied to PT. Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (IKPP), pulp mill of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) in Riau.   

Small Scale Forest Concession License (IPK) of Amal Hutemas Bina Bonai Foundation was issued by the Head of District of Rokan Hulu No. 03/Forestry/IV/2005. The logging activities of the IPK holder have been going on for a year. No information obtained on the legality of the document. 

The concession of PT. Rokan Adi Makmur, where the logging was conducted, is inside Libo Forest Block and overlaps with the following areas (see also Map 4, EoF News 18 April 2006: Forest to Paper, Forest to Palm Oil, and No Place to Live for Riau Elephants): Sumatra Elephants’ ranges reported in 2003, 1999 and 1985 by IUCN, WWF, BKSDA (see also EoF Interactive map on Elephants). 

Peat soil depth of between 2 and 4 meters (Wetland International & Canadian International Development Agency 2003: Map of Area of Peatland Distribution and Carbon Content 2002 Riau Province).  According to the Presidential Decree No 32/1990 natural forest areas located in peat moss forest area in upstream part of the river and swamp, with a thickness of more than three meters, should be maintained.

The decree issued by the Minister of Forestry and Minister of Agriculture No. 376/1998, dated on April 8th 1998, About the Criteria of Forest Area Conversion for Palm Oil Plantation Development, pointed that criteria for palm oil plantation development is land with peat depth below 2 meters. Based on Eyes on the Forest’s findings, PT. IKPP of APP has purchased the timber from this logging operation by Amal Hutemas Bina Bonai Foundation and therefore has violated Forestry Law No. 41/1999 article 50 clause (3) point (f) in conjunction with article 78 clause (4) which prohibit accepting, purchasing or selling, exchanging, storing, or possessing forest product known or allegedly known illegal.     

Amal Hutemas Bina Bonai Foundation/PT. Rokan Adi Makmur should immediately stop clearcutting and oil palm development operations in this concession to prevent further conversion of potential elephant habitat, further disturbance that may be contributing to driving elephants out of Libo Block, clearing of forest on peat   deeper than 3m, development of oil palm plantation on land with peat depth of more than 2m. PT. IKPP should not receive wood originating from such operations.    

Giam Siak Kecil Forest Block (B2002, Map2 and 5)   

Eyes on the Forest investigation on April 2006 found PT. Chong, PT. Ihsa Prima Karya and PT. Ihsa Asparindo Prima, contractors of PT. Balai Kayang Mandiri, were still logging in natural forest in Giam Siak Kecil Forest Block as confirmed by its finding  in December 2005. Eyes on the Forest’s investigation this time confirmed that timber from these logging operations were also supplied to PT. IKPP.   

Eyes on the Forest’s investigation found that truck with plate number BK 9021 BG with additional number (painted on the door) 200-073, driven by a driver with initial ”Sy” alias ”Am” transported timber from PT. Balai Kayang Mandiri to PT. IKPP.  (See photo)   

In its logging operations, contractors of PT. Balai Kayang Mandiri are using Industrial Timber Plantation License (IUPHHKHT) on behalf of PT. Balai Kayang Mandiri issued by Head of District Siak dated on 3 February 2003 (No 04/IUPHHKHT/II/2003) for total area of 21,450 ha. To date, natural forest conversion in this area has reached 5,000 to 6,000 ha.   

The Ministry of Forestry (MoF) is in the process of reviewing the validity of IUPHHK-HT issued by Governors or Heads of Districts (Decree no P.03/Menhut-II/2005 dated on Jan 18, 2005), therefore, PT. Balai Kayang Mandiri should immediately stop its logging activities and PT. IKPP/APP should stop sourcing timber from such activities until written legal verification issued by the MoF.    

In addition to the legal review by the MoF, President of Indonesia through a Presidential Decree (Inpres No. 4/2005 about Combating Illegal Logging and its Distribution in All Area in Indonesia issued on 18 March 2005) and Riau Governor’s Decree (No Kpts.472/X/2005 issued on 21 October 2005 about forming teams to support the implementation of Presidential Decree in Riau Province) confirmed a need to verify company’s industrial licenses and further canceling the license if it does not comply with the existing law.