Asia Pulp and Paper Group (APP) has announced a plan to restore and support the conservation of one million hectares of rainforestacross Indonesia. This ground-breaking initiative has been developed with input from many stakeholders, including WWF, Greenpeace and NGO members of APP’s Solutions Working Group. It will have a significant impact on the landscapes both in and around the plantation concessions in APP’s supply chain.
The commitment, which takes the company well beyond itslegal conservation requirements, is approximately equivalent to the total area of plantation from which the company sourced pulp fibre in 2013.
Thisannouncement comes just over a year after APP launched its sector-leading Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), which saw an immediate and permanent cessation of natural forest clearance across its supply chain. Since then, the company has been working closely with stakeholders to implement the policy, with support from The Forest Trust. The company has also been carrying out consultation on how it should prioritise restoration of important areas, following the wide ranging biodiversity assessments in its concessions.
Aida Greenbury, APP’s managing director of sustainability, said: “After over a year of implementing our FCP, it has become clear that the key to success of any efforts to halt deforestation in Indonesia is a landscape level approach to forest restoration and conservation.
“Land cannot be conserved or restored in isolation, the sustainability of the entire landscape must be taken into account and many stakeholders must be involved. We hope that by working with Indonesianand international stakeholders, as well as organisations such as WWF, The Forest Trust and Ekologika, our efforts will be much more effective.
“We believe that by assessing entire landscapes and creating clear tailor made objectives and strategies, the maximum possible level of conservation will be achieved, not just for natural forest in our concessions, but for areas around them as well.”
As a first step, APP will work with an NGO coalition to preserve the natural forest in the 30 Hills landscape (Bukit Tigapuluh) in Jambi, Sumatra – a vital habitat for tiger, elephant and orang-utanpopulations. This will include increased protection of the corridor road from illegal activities, work on protecting the threatened elephant herd in the Tebo Multi Agro concession, and asessment of the viability of creating an animal corridor in the WKS concession which would connect important forest habitat blocks.
APP is currently in consultation with WWF and other stakeholders, to develop plans for identified priority landscapes in which APP and its suppliershave commercial forestry-based operations, which will then be implemented by the company in close collaboration with other relevant players in the landscape, while observing the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
The focus for each landscapeis:
· Bukit Tigapuluh, Jambi – provide wildlife corridors and additional buffer areas and restrict access to enhance the function of Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, while involving the local community.
· Senepis, Riau – support conservation of the Sumatran tiger and peat swamp forest.
· Giam Siak Kecil, Riau – secure, protect and restore the core natural forest within the Giam Siak Kecil Biosphere Reserve to provide habitat for many endangered species including Sumatran tiger and Sumatran elephants. Also, ensure sustainable conservation of peat swamp forest, while supporting the livelihood of the local communities.
· Kampar Peninsula, Riau – support large landscape protection of peat swamp forest using a multi-stakeholder approach that involves other concession holders.
· Kerumutan, Riau – support expansion and connectivity of protected forest areas.
· Muba Berbak Sembilang, Jambi and South Sumatra – protect the existing natural forest and assess the possibility of expanding the current protected forest, i.e.by restoring key areas to natural ecosystems and focussing on the protection of Sumatran Tiger and other key species. Additional support will be provided to the national parks.
· OKI, South Sumatra – create a wildlife corridor to expand the habitat of Sumatran elephants.
· Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan – maintain the integrity of orang-utan habitat and also assess the possibility of expanding the existing mangrove forest to support the conservation of swamp crocodiles.
· Kutai, East Kalimantan – support the existing national park, providing buffer and corridor for orang-utan habitat.
Over the coming months, this commitment will be developed into a more detail time-bound plan that will form part of the company’s Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plans (ISFMPs), which are currently being developed by APP, High Conservation Value (HCV), High Carbon Stock (HCS) and social experts as well as a peatland management team.
APP will also develop with other stakeholders, an independently administered trust fund to manage and finance these conservation measures in order to ensure their sustainability and viability into the future. The trust fund will receive start up funding from APP. Additional funding will be raised on an ongoing basis to successfully manage these conservation landscapes.
In order to manage this new conservation strategy, APP will be creating a multi-stakeholder platform, to be unveiled in due course, that will include a wide range of national and international NGOs and other institutions to guide the implementation of these conservation and restoration commitments.