Monday, January 30, 2017

Ministry of the Environment and Forestry orders APP to remove the recently planted acacia

By the end of December 2016, Indonesia's Ministry of the Environment and Forestry issued two official letters iorderig five more Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)  to remove all the acacia they have recently replanted in burned peat. The companies are PT RHM, PT TPJ, PT SH, PT BPP and PT SPM.

Previously, the Ministry had sent letters uttering to remove the unlawfully planted acacia to three more APP pulpwood companies (PT BMH, PT SBAWI and PT BAP) operating in South Sumatra’s Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) regency. As a result, eight APP suppliers has been found violating the new regalements that prohibits planting on burned peat.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

APP's new OKI mill will endanger Indonesia’s climate change commitments, NGOs say

On December 23, 2016 Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) announced it had started production at one of the largest pulp and tissue mills in the world. The Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) mill, in South Sumatra will produce 2 million tons of pulp each year, but according APP sources, production could touch 2.8 or even 3.3 million tons. A group of international and Indonesian NGOs (Rainforest Action Network, Wetlands International, Eyes on the Forest, Woods and Wayside International, HaKI, Auriga) warned that the new mill will endanger Indonesia’s climate change commitments, and demands APP to phase out all drainage-based plantations on peatlands. “The mill’s wood supply is grown mostly on drained peatlands, a production system that causes extremely high carbon emissions and, at times, catastrophic fires.” says a joint statement .

When drained for the development of industrial plantations, the peat becomes vulnerable to fires and releases very large amounts of carbon dioxide. Over time, drained peatlands will subside to levels at which these areas experience increased flooding and significant declines in productivity, which will lead to increased pressures elsewhere.”
Before the OKI mill even started production- the NGOs added - it had contributed to an environmental disaster and public health emergency. The development of peatlands for industrial forestry and agriculture, including the supply base of the OKI mill, was a major cause of Indonesia’s catastrophic fires in 2015. The fires resulted in $16 billion of economic losses in Indonesia alone and exposed 43 million people to thick haze, causing hundreds of thousands to become sick with respiratory illnesses. In what The Guardian called “the year’s worst environmental disaster”, the fires released an estimated 1.75 Gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015, more than Germany or Japan’s total annual emissions.
NGOs ask APP to to "phase out all drainage-based plantations on peatlands, and a credible plan to rewet and restore those areas”, respect buffer zones of around remaining natural peat forest and change forestry practices on rewetted peatlands.
In 2015 APP announced the plan of rewetting 7,000 ha of plantations, but this represent a microscopic fraction of their concessions, but this is less than 2% of APP concessions and this measure, judged as a good first step, has proved to be insufficient to prevent the peat and forest fires.
Recently, APP has been criticised by the government for failing to implement the regulations on peat management, such as restoring burned peat.
“Pulp and paper buyers are increasingly concerned about their carbon footprint,” said Lafcadio Cortesi, with the Rainforest Action Network. “So for many, buying paper sourced from unsustainable peatland plantations – with an emissions profile tens of times larger than any other paper on the market – just doesn’t make sense.”
See the joint statement here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Indonesia's forest concessionaires required to restore peatland

According to the Jakarta Post, the Indonesian Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) will require forest concessionaires to restore 1.4 million hectares of peatland starting in January 2017. The move is set to affect 650,389 hectares managed by 36 forest concessionaires in five provinces, namely South Sumatra, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Riau and Jambi, BRG head Nazir Foead said. “The areas to be restored are equivalent to 26 percent of the total peatland restoration target,” Nazir said.
Established by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to decrease forest fires, the agency has set a goal to recover 2.49 million ha of peatland of which about 1 million ha is located in protected forests, conservation forests and community forests.
During execution, the companies would have to comply with technical guidelines set by the government and install a monitoring censor for water surface with technology developed by the agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), Nazir said. BRG would closely monitor the implementation of the measure, he added.
Indonesia, home to the world’s third-biggest tropical rain forest after the Amazon and the Congo Basin, has dealt with concurrent forest fires in recent years, causing a spread of haze to neighboring Malaysia, Singapore and even Thailand. The fires has been fuelled by pulp and palm oil plantations on dried peat.