Report says APP incites forest destruction, social conflicts

EoF News / 22 January 2007

Pekanbaru (EoF News) --- Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is “responsible for the large-scale destruction of Indonesia’s forests” as well as has “generated a number of conflicts with various community groups in Indonesia which have yet to be settled.”  Those are quotes found on Social conflict and environmental disaster: A report on Asia Pulp and Paper’s operations in Sumatra, Indonesia, compiled by Rivani Noor and Rully Syumanda. The report is part of the World Rainforest Movement’s PLANTATIONS WATCH project, with financial support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS). Beside highlights the social, economic and ecological damages made by APP in Riau, the study also tells of its operations inflicting losses to forest and communities in Jambi. The report found that in a bid to meet its pulp and paper capacity production, APP sourced its main raw material from “wood from forests” since “acacia accounts for not more than 30 percent of the total supply.” Hence, illegal loggings were perpetrated by APP’s partners and subsidiaries in Riau’s protected areas such as  in Giam Siak Kecil forest block, Pekanbaru border’s protected forest, Rimbang Baling wildlife reserve, and others. “More than 82 perent of logs from the area were transported directly to Indah Kiat,” the report referred to Rimbang Baling’s illegal logging operations.

The two authors, Rivani Noor of CAPPA and Rulli Syumanda of WALHI,  said that around  70 percent of APP’s plantation concessions are located in swamps and peat forests, particularly in the regions of Mendahara, Pematang Lumut and Klagian in Jambi Province and in Siak, Bengkalis and Kampar Districts in Riau Province. In practical, APP dredged and dried the swamps and the peat forests for canals to clear areas for planting acacia as well as for allowing timber transportation.   The study said, “APP became the target for environmental campaigners because of its deforestation record and the conflicts between the company and local communities.” Some conflicts between APP and communities in Riau and Jambi incites forest degradation, human rights abuses and socio-economic changes suffered by locals and indigenous peoples.  Some APP companies annexed communities’ land for pulp and paper development without paying any compensation, the study found. In Jambi, CAPPA’s investigation found that PT Wira Karya Sejati belonging to APP “manipulated the type of the species supplied to PT LPPI.” The report said such a manipulation caused the State loses US$10 for any cubic meter of logs. Ministry’s statement on APP

Regardless to the report, Minister of Forestry MS Kaban has said on his speech that his ministry is “encouraged by the extraordinary efforts of companies such as APP, who use compliance with the regulations as a baseline for their efforts.” 

On the statement presented for APP Stakeholders in Tokyo, on 14 November 2006, as found on APP website, the Minister also pointed out, “The management  of  its  [Sinarmas Forestry’s] plantation  forest development incorporates the economic, social and environmental aspects in compliance with the laws and regulations of the Government of Indonesia, which are founded on sustainable forest management principles.“

Find the WRM Report on APP operations