29 March 2021 / EoF Investigative Report
Eyes on the Forest investigation in December 2006 has found that about 4,500 hectares of natural forest had been illegally clearcut in concession of PT Arara Abadi (AA), subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group, associated with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). The logging in this concession started in 2005.
PT Arara Abadi and contractor PT Sinar Hasta Lestari clearcut natural forest in this concession, despite EoF coalition has not found any company received and sourced felled timber for the industrial timber plantation (HTI) development in such a concession.
Based upon the field observation, EoF analyzed the alleged involvement of PT Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (PT IKPP), associated to APP in Riau, in receiving and sourcing timber from PT Arara Abadi. EoF could not find the plan to develop HTI by PT Arara Abadi in this concession, despite around 3,000 ha has been planted acacia and other 1,500 ha has already been clearcut by September 2007.
In this concession, EoF has found PT Arara Abadi ha has planted acacia aging 4 months (see photo). Eyes on the Forest has not found yet natural forest logging license for PT Arara Abadi to develop its acacia plantation or HTI development.
The official data released by Riau Province Forestry Service 2005-2006 do not specify any HTI concession in the location where EoF found, but: • Official data by the Ministry of Forestry in 2005 (http://www.dephut.go.id ) say that concession where acacia plantation developed by PT Arara Abadi is concession held by PT Triomas FDI which has selective logging one (IUPHHK-HA or HPH). • This HPH license is issued based on the Minister of Forestry Decree Number 109/Menhut-IV/1998 dated 28 March 1998. The size of the concession where logging is occurring is 97,500 hectares. Through its response to this EoF’s investigation (May 2007), APP failed to specify any legality basis for logging operation that conducted by PT Arara Abadi, showing that APP and its partner allegedly conducted illegal logging in Kampar Peninsula forest block.
EoF Investigation in December 2006 has also found logging road development conducted by PT Arara Abadi through acacia plantation area of PT Uniseraya. It is estimated that the logging road development has reached a 3-km length from log pound that used 3 units of excavator.
Beside the logging operation overlaps with concession of another forest utilization, the land clearing for developing acacia plantation (HTI) by PT Arara Abadi in Kampar Peninsula forest block also violate several existing agreements:
1. Natural forests which were still in good condition, as shown by Landsat Image for the area in July 2004, before concession started to be clearcut (Satellite image map 1). Image maps 2 and 3 indicate that in August 2005 and August 2006 the condition of remaining natural forests in this concession worsen due to conversion for acacia plantation (see red dots).
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 non-forest 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).
2. Peat soil depth of more than 4 meters (Wetlands International & Canadian International Development Agency 2003: Map of Area of Peatland Distribution and Carbon Content 2002 Riau Province). According to the Presidential Decree Number 32/1990, natural forests located on peat soil with depth of 3 meter or more situated in upstream and swamp should be maintained (Map 4).
3. Still valid and not expired selective logging concession (HPH) of PT Triomas FDI, with a license based on Minister of Forestry Decree Number 476/Menhut-IV/1998 dated 28 March 1998 with total size of 97,500 hectares (Map 5). Based on Minister of Forestry Decrees Number 10.1/2000 and 21/2001, forest area that is available for Industrial Timber Plantation proposal is barren land inside production forest or/and forest area that converted into production forest which is not entitled by other rights.
PT IKPP of APP allegedly has purchased the illegal timber from this concession and PT Arara Abadi breached existing regulations on criteria of planted forest allocation by destroying natural forest. PT Arara Abadi should respect the existing laws in Indonesia and stop the illegal logging in this concession immediately. EoF also calls on PT IKPP and APP to halt to source wood originating from such unlawful operation.
In addition to legality questions, EoF considers that clearcutting of natural forests in this concession destroys potential High Conservation Value Forests and calls PT Arara Abadi /APP to stop the forest clearance in this concession and sourcing of felled timber immediately.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) defines High Conservation Value Forests as “forests of outstanding and critical importance due to their environmental, socio-economic, cultural, biodiversity and landscape values”. Kampar Peninsula forest block is considered to maintain various High Conservation Values, one of them being a critically endangered species, Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae).