Jakarta 13 August 2015: Greenpeace congratulates Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) on taking a decision to immediately retire around 7,000 hectares of existing acacia plantations located in two of Sumatra’s threatened peat swamp forest landscapes. This decision follows the first round of rapid assessment management recommendations delivered by APP’s independent peat expert team, which is led by the Dutch organisation Deltares.(1)
Further, Greenpeace commends both APP and Deltares for their groundbreaking and unprecedented initiative to create new high-tech maps of the peatland landscapes, where APP suppliers are located. Covering some 5 million hectares – nearly 25% of Indonesia’s peatlands, an area larger than The Netherlands – the mapping initiative features LiDAR technology to build an accurate picture of the major peat domes that need protecting. This constitutes the most comprehensive and credible data on peatlands ever obtained in Indonesia.
The resulting analysis will provide the foundation Deltares needs to make additional recommendations to APP on how to reduce or reverse the identified impacts of its existing plantations on neighbouring peat swamp forests, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
Bustar Maitar said, “Today’s announcement by APP is a potential game changer for the future of Indonesia’s peatland landscapes and tangible action to tackle climate change. Its announcement that it is taking immediate action to retire a number of existing commercial plantation areas and restore them to peat swamp forests sets an important benchmark. Greenpeace calls on other plantation companies to take similar urgent action and work together to ensure all Indonesia’s peatland landscapes are properly monitored and protected.”
APP’s action to protect and restore peatland impacted by its operations is part of a wider company pledge, supporting global efforts to restore forests and reduce GHG emissions, which assists the Government of Indonesia’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 41%.
Bustar Maitar continued: “Greenpeace calls on the government to ensure it is not undermining conservation initiatives by progressive companies. For initiatives such as APP’s to succeed, not only do all companies and the surrounding communities need to work together, but the government needs to suspend all further plantation development on forests and peatland.”
The protection of Indonesia’s peatland landscapes requires long term commitments and significant investment. APP’s announcement today demonstrates a clear recognition of the urgency to implement a coordinated approach to peatland protection and management.
APRIL, the other major pulp and paper company in Indonesia, also made commitments earlier this year to protect peatland forests. So far there is little sign of these commitments being translated into credible action.
Accurate maps, adequate monitoring systems, and proper laws to enable forest conservation and landscape-level planning are lacking. The initiative led by Deltares and APP should be adopted by the government as the basis for a new model of responsible peatland protection and management.