29 March 2021 / EoF Investigative Report
Eyes on the Forest (EoF) Investigation in November 2006 has found that about 2,000 hectares of natural forests had been clearcut in a Selective Logging Concession (HPH) of PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa, by PT Arara Abadi, a subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group (SMG), associated with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP).
The logging in this concession started in 2006. PT Arara Abadi along with PT Riau Gemilang Surya Reteh, PT Sentra Baja Perkasa and PT Belawan Indah clearcut the forest in PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa, which also an APP’s partner. This timber felling is prepared to develop a 15,000-ha Industrial Timber Plantation of PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa.
This EoF investigation did not find who sourced the felled timber for PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa; however, based upon the field observation indicating the involvement of PT Arara Abadi, EoF believes that PT Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (IKPP), a pulp mill belonging to APP, has been sourcing timber from the concession of PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa.
Eyes on the Forest had not found natural forest logging license for PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa that functioned as pulpwood concession, but:
• Official data from the Ministry of Forestry in 2005 (http://www.dephut.go.id) said that PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa holds a Selective Logging License (HPH), not a Timber Plantation Industry (HTI/IUPHHK-HT) license.
• This HPH license is issued based on Minister of Forestry Decree Number 109/Kpts-II/2000 dated 29 December 2000. The size of the concession where logging is happening is 44,595 hectares.
EoF temporarily has not found substitution of HPH selective logging concession license to HTI one in concession of PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa. However, following confirmation requested by EoF to APP (April 2007), the company explained that it had obtained approval by the Minister of Forestry in 2004 for forest management plan through two silvicultural systems (natural forest/Tebang Pilih Tanam Indonesia and land clearing/Tebang Habis Permudaan Buatan), see APP response.
Despite the approval granted by the government as mentioned above, EoF refers to several forestry legislations issued by the government have stipulated clearly that IUPHHKHT or HTI development should not be granted in natural forest, but should only be granted in barren land, grassland or bushes in production forest (PP 34/2002, article 30 point 3), or on vegetation of nonforest or formerly clearcut area which are degraded where the area should not have vegetation of more than 10cm diameter trees for all kinds of species with potential timber density less than 5 m3 per hectare or number of sub-species of dominant species less than 200 trees per hectare (MoF decree 10.1/2000, article 3).
The identical criteria are also stipulated on MoF decree 21/2001, point (b), MoF decree 33/2003, article 5 clause (2) letter c); MoF decree 32/2003, article 4 clause (2) point a); and MoF regulation 05/2004, article 5 clause (1).
Meanwhile, Eyes on the Forest (EoF) Investigation in November 2006 has found that about 150 hectares of natural forests had been clearcut in an Industrial Timber Plantation (HTI) concession of PT Triomas FDI, associated with Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (APRIL). The size of clearcut forest in this concession increases from 50 ha as EoF found on Investigation September & October 2006.
The logging in this concession started in July 2006. This EoF investigation did not identify any company which sourced the felled timber. However, EoF believes that PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), a pulp mill belonging to APRIL, has been sourcing the timber clearcut by PT Triomas FDI based on other field observations. The updated investigation found in this concession is also ongoing logging road development by 2-km length where the acacia seedling found on the ground.