October 3, 2018

Peat forests continue to disappear in APP’s HCV areas

(foresthints.news) - The remaining peat forests lying in an Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)-controlled pulpwood concession (PT KSP), which form part of an Indonesian peat protection zone, continue to be illegally cleared by a third party for palm oil expansion. 

This was revealed through a ground-based investigation of the concession by the foresthints.news team (Sep 30).

The pulpwood concession in question is situated in West Kalimantan's Kubu Raya regency. The peat forests within it, which continue to be illegally razed to the ground, are inhabited by the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan, according to the IUCN. 

A consultant report prepared within the framework of APP's Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), which was launched in early February 2013, stated that peat forests form part of high conservation value (HCV) areas. 

The first photo below shows a signboard - put up by the company itself - banning the logging/clearing of peat forests in the HCV areas. The second photo depicts parts of the HCV areas being illegally cleared, while the third photo is of logs sourced from these illegal operations.

Meanwhile, a prior APP FCP monitoring report (2018) discussed the conflicts and claims on state forest areas, especially within the PT KSP pulpwood concession. However, the report didn’t cover the illegal clearing of the HCV areas concerned.

In the monitoring report, no spatial and field analyses were found detailing the extent of the HCV areas in the APP pulpwood concession that has been and continues to be developed for palm oil plantations. 

The following photos show the current level of the HCV areas distributed within the APP pulpwood concession which are being cleared by a third party. According to APP (Sep 30), the case has been reported to the local forestry office. 

The illegal clearing of the HCV areas in the APP-controlled pulpwood concession began in early 2017, and continues to this day on an extensive basis. 

The situation is clearly visible on the ground, where oil palms have been planted in an expanse of the HCV areas. The following photos portray evidence of this. 

In November last year, the revised 10-year work plan of the pulpwood company turned parts of the HCV areas - including those that have been, are being, and have yet to be cleared - into blocks for the livelihood of local communities.

This case serves as an important lesson learned that explains why parts of the remaining peat forests in the APP concession have continued to disappear, both before and after the HCV areas were allocated by the company for the livelihood of local communities.