APP’s Borneo Expansion to Be Constrained By Forest Conservation Policy

As it expands into Borneo, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) has agreed to not convert any parts of forest that have high conservation value or substantial carbon stocks. Read more below about what convinced them to carry out this policy and how they intend to see it though.

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Rainforest in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. 

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) will not convert any blocks of forest found to have high conservation value or substantial carbon stocks as it expands in Indonesian Borneo, according the forestry giant’s managing director of sustainability. 

Responding to a report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group, Aida Greenbury said APP’s 10-month-old forest conservation policy applies to four suppliers operating in East and West Kalimantan. 

“Our Forest Conservation Policy applies to all of our suppliers in Indonesia, and covers all future expansion. This means that no plantation development will take place unless HCV and HCS assessments have first been carried out to identify natural forest and important habitat, which will then be protected,” Greenbury told 

“This applies to all of our suppliers’ concessions including those highlighted by the recent report.” 

Earlier this week, Greenomics published a report highlighting concessions controlled by PT Acacia Andalan Utama (AAU), PT Kelawit Wana Lestari (KWL), and PT Cahaya Mitra Wiratama (CMW) in East Kalimantan and PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH) in West Kalimantan. The report said Ministry of Forestry data indicates that the concessions contain significant areas of high carbon stock forest, defined as forest with more than 35 tons of above-ground biomass. Under the terms of its forest conservation policy, APP has committed to maintaining such areas as forest. 

By Greenomics’ analysis, up to 60,000 hectares of old scrub and 10,000 ha of secondary forest may qualify as high carbon stock forest across the 155,000 ha of concessions. Under the high carbon stock assessment protocol for Indonesia, areas classified as “secondary forest” generally contain more than 35 tons of carbon, while “old scrub” is more variable and requires measurement. 

Rainforest in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. 

APP’s policy, signed in February this year, also requires it to obtain Free, Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) from local communities in developing new plantations. 

The policy was established in response to damaging campaigns by activist groups that accused APP of large-scale forest destruction in Sumatra over the past 30 years. APP’s main competitor, Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), has yet to make a commitment to end conversion of natural forests for plantations and is therefore still a target of environmentalists, including Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), and WWF.