78 % OF BURNED AREA INSIDE FOREST CONCESSIONS IN SOUTH SUMATRA IS IN CONCESSIONS OF SUPPLIERS TO ASIA PULP AND PAPER (APP)

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Burn area inside app concession at south sumatera 2015

PERS RILIS

Palembang, 3 rd December 2015; Fires in Indonesia continue unabated. This year, forest fires caused economic losses as high as IDR 200 trillion (USD 14.5 billion), according to an estimate by CIFOR. The Indonesia Health Ministry reported that 425,377 people suffered from Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, or URIs (Tempo, 17/10/2015). In addition, the National Disaster Management Agency stated that 10 people died because of the haze in the period June – November 2015 (Metrotv, 24/10/2015). The total area of burned forest/land in Indonesia this year reached 2,1 million hectares, with Kalimantan and Sumatra being the most affected, according to estimates from LAPAN (Indonesian National Institute of  Aeronautics and Space). Approximately 8338,000 hectares or 40% of the total burned land and forest is located in South Sumatra Province.

south sumatera forest fires map 2015
south sumatera forest fires map 2015

 

burn area inside of forest concession
burn area inside of forest concession

Forest management in South Sumatera
Province including some peatland areas has
been issued to 48 companies with total area
1,5 million hectare. APP that has been
operating since 2004 managed 51% of the
areas, with total area of 796.217 hectare
where 55 % of the area is in peatland.
APP already announced its “2020 Roadmap
to Sustainability” including its Forest
Conservation Policy (FCP) and subsequent
public commitments. These commitments
include restoring peatlands, acknowledging
local/indigenous rights, and supporting the
government’s commitment to “Zero
Burning Policy”. Unfortunately, the NGO
coalition in South Sumatra has found that
APP’s commitment has failed to prevent
forest fires inside of its concessions and
those of its suppliers.

Burn area inside app concession at south sumatera 2015
Burn area inside app concession at south sumatera 2015

Total burned areas inside of APP concession is 78% (293,065 Ha) of the total burned concession areas in South Sumatra (375,823 Ha). This is 37% of APP’s entire concession area in South Sumatra. 174,080 ha of APP’s burned concession area is on peatlands, according to Landsat imagery analysis. Much of the burned area is on land already planted with acacia, which raises the question of how this loss will influence the fiber supply for APP’s new giant pulp mill in South Sumatra, PT. OKI Mill.

burned peatlands inside of APP Concesion at South Sumatera 2015
burned peatlands inside of APP Concesion at South Sumatera 2015

Based on this situation, we, the NGOs in South Sumatra, are calling on international communities to take action as follows:
1. Urge all consumers, buyers and investors of companies such as APP that are involved in forest fires to stop cooperation and/or stop using their products, until there is an evidence of improvement and evaluation of the companies’ commitments by independent parties. It is important to assist these companies in seriously carrying out
their commitments in order to protect Indonesia and its citizens from the dangers of forest and peat fires in the future.
2. Urge the Indonesian government to conduct environmental audits and review licenses to the companies involved in the forest fires, and to follow up these actions with appropriate law enforcement.
3. Urge all companies linked to fires to restore their burned areas, especially peatlands. For the restoration efforts, the companies should be transparent with information and consult about their plans with NGOs, government and affected local people.
4. Urge civil society to use all relevant findings for advocacy and to monitor the violation of forest management practices.

Contact People:
1. Aidil Fitri – Hutan Kita Institute (HaKI) : 08127110385
2. April Firdaus – LBH Palembang : 08127137958
3. Hadi Jatmiko – WALHI South Sumatra : 08127312042
4. Sudarto – JMG South Sumatra : 082177970742
5. Rabin Ibnu Zainal – PINUS Palembang : 0811718481

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2 COMMENTS

  1. This report should make it clearer that the figures it cites are largely in keeping with expectations. In other words, we would expect APP’s concessions to have most of the fires because APP is by far the biggest concession holder. We would also expect half of the fires to occur on peatland because 50% of the concessions are peatland. Fires occurring on the plantations themselves are a sure indicator that the plantation companies did not start the fires, and the report does not make that point clear either. It also fails to highlight that the finger can be pointed so easily at APP because APP is the only company that has publicly released its mapping data. I think the way the facts are shown in this report highlights the bias against big companies that still exists. I think the time has now come for NGOs to start getting behind the palm-oil, paper and timber companies that are showing the level of commitment we’re now seeing. APP and Wilmar are great examples of companies that ought to be supported now and not attacked. If the NGOs’ plan is to attack them until they reach absolute perfection, then they are running the risk of undermining all their own work over the last decade because these companies must have their tolerances too. More to the point, it seems the NGOs have taken their eye off some vast forest destruction in other regions while trying to fine-tune the adherence of such companies. There aren’t enough good NGOs to go around, and there are much bigger fish to fry now. There’s enough green momentum in Indonesia now. The fight is over. We’ve won.

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