APP to restore 1 million hectares of forest

business May 25, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Paper and pulp group's conservation plan goes beyond legal requirements

Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Group plans to restore a million hectares of rainforest across Indonesia. 
This ground-breaking initiative has been developed with input from many stakeholders, including the 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 its legal conservation requirements, is about equivalent to the total area of plantation from which the company sourced pulp fibre last year.
It has been just over a year that APP launched its industry-leading forest conservation policy, 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 consulting on how it should prioritise restoration of important areas, following the wide-ranging biodiversity assessments in its concessions.
Aida Greenbury, managing director of sustainability, said last week that 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 Indonesian and 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 the natural forests 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 and elephant populations. 
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 assessment of the viability of creating an animal corridor in the WKS concession that would connect important forest habitat blocks.
APP is consulting WWF and other stakeholders on developing plans for priority landscapes in which it and its suppliers have commercial forestry-based operations, which will then be implemented by the company in close collaboration with other players in the landscape, while observing the principles of free, prior and informed consent.
The focus for each landscape:
l 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.
l Senepis, Riau: Support conservation of Sumatran tigers and peat swamp forests.
l Giam Siak Kecil, Riau: Secure, protect and restore the core natural forest within the Giam Siak Kecil Biosphere Reserve to provide a habitat for many endangered species including Sumatran tigers and Sumatran elephants. Also, ensure sustainable conservation of peat swamp forests, while supporting the livelihood of the local communities.
l Kampar Peninsula, Riau: Support large landscape protection of peat swamp forests using a multistakeholder approach that involves other concession holders.
l Kerumutan, Riau: Support expansion and connectivity of protected forest areas.
l Muba Berbak Sembilang, Jambi and South Sumatra: Protect the existing natural forest and assess the possibility of expanding the current protected forest, such as by restoring key areas to natural ecosystems and focussing on the protection of Sumatran tigers and other key species. Additional support will be provided to national parks.
l OKI, South Sumatra: Create a wildlife corridor to expand the habitat of Sumatran elephants.
l Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan: Maintain the integrity of orang-utan habitats and also assess the possibility of expanding the existing mangrove forest to support the conservation of swamp crocodiles.
l Kutai, East Kalimantan: Support the existing national park, providing a buffer and corridor for the orang-utan habitat.
Over the coming months, this commitment will be developed into a more detailed time-bound plan that will form part of the company’s integrated sustainable forest-management plans, which are being developed by APP, High Conservation Value, High Carbon Stock and social experts as well as a peat land-management team.
APP will also develop with other stakeholders an independently administered trust fund to manage and finance these conservation measures 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.
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. 
About Asia Pulp and Paper Group
Asia Pulp and Paper Group is the trade name for a group of pulp and paper manufacturing firms in Indonesia and China. APP Group is one of the world’s largest vertically integrated pulp and paper companies, with an annual combined pulp, paper and converting products capacity of over 18 million tonnes. 
APP-Indonesia and APP-China market their products in more than 120 countries. 
APP launched its sustainability roadmap vision 2020 in June 2012 and its forest-conservation policy in February last year to further improve its environmental performance, biodiversity conservation and protection of community rights. 

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