Still only 40% of pulpwood companies have work plans approved 

(foresthints.news) - As of the fourth week of this month, 33 pulpwood companies have had their 10-year work plans (2017-2026) approved by the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry on the basis that these work plans are aligned with Indonesia’s new peat regulations.

According tto a list of the 33 pulpwood companies obtained by foresthints.news (Jan 23), the majority of them belong to the supply chain of Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).

The total area of the 33 pulpwood concessions concerned amounts to nearly 2.5 million hectares, equivalent to almost 35 times the size of Singapore. Of this, close to 900,000 hectares - more than 12 times the size of Singapore - lie in peat protection zones. 

Meanwhile, nearly 600,000 hectares classified as peatlands in the 33 pulpwood concessions are situated in utilization zones according to the ministry map. However, the utilization of undeveloped peatlands for new acacia plantations remains banned in these areas in line with the new peat regulations.

The 33 pulpwood companies whose work plans have been approved still only make up around 40% of the 87 companies required to revise their work plans to be brought into alignment with the new peat regulations.

Most of the pulpwood companies whose work plans have yet to be approved fall under the APRIL group operating in Sumatra’s Riau province.

The wholly APRIL-owned company PT RAPP is in the list, but besides this there is just one APRIL supplier, PT NSR, whose work plan has been approved by the ministry. However, the size of its peat protection zone is extremely small.

In contrast, PT SRL, the largest APRIL supplier, had a strict administrative sanction imposed on it by the ministry in late December 2017, obliging the company, among other demands, to remove all the newly-planted acacia in its concession because such replanting in peat protection zones constitutes a peat violation.

The photos below, taken in early December last year, show newly-planted acacia in a peat protection zone at PT SRL, part of APRIL’s supply chain, which the ministry ordered to be removed. This pulpwood concession is located in the middle of Riau’s Pulau Rupat island.

At the time this news report was posted, PT SRL’s work plan was still being improved in order for it to be approved by the ministry.

Bulk of approved companies in Sumatra

Of the 33 pulpwood companies whose work plans have been approved, more than 75% of them are scattered across Sumatra, especially in Riau province. The rest are found in the provinces of South Sumatra, Jambi and Bangka-Belitung islands.

Meanwhile, 8 pulpwood companies - or just less than 25% of the total number whose work plans have been approved by the ministry - operate in Kalimantan, most notably in West Kalimantan province, with the majority of them forming part of APP’s supply chain.

On various occasions, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya has emphasized that the revision of these pulpwood company work plans represents a legally-based effort aimed at improved peat governance.

As to the corporate sector, in an interview with foresthints.news last year, the minister reiterated her promise to find solutions that ensure business continuity while remaining within the corridor of efforts intended to enhance peat governance.