In my last blog post on APP’s new commitment to High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF), I made the following statement:
“APP is applying the HCVF principles to the pulpwood concessions that it owns – covering some 1,082,934 hectares – immediately, and suspending any further natural forest clearance until we identify those critical conservation areas. The assessments will especially be focusing on the undeveloped land in these concessions – approximately 50 per cent of the total gross area.”
A small number of NGOs, notably WWF, have taken some issue with this. In a blog post published yesterday, WWF said:
“Our analysis suggests that this limited moratorium will have little impact, since APP has already cleared 713,383 hectares or almost all of the natural forest in its own and affiliated concessions in Riau.”
We have two types of pulpwood suppliers in Indonesia. First are APP-owned pulpwood plantation concessions. These are pulpwood supplier companies in which APP has equity stakes. There are six APP-owned pulpwood plantation companies that hold pulpwood plantation concession licenses in Indonesia. These concessions are located in Sumatra and Kalimantan, covering over one million hectares gross in total. Second is APP independent wood suppliers. These are independent companies that hold pulpwood plantation concession licenses in Indonesia. APP has no ownership share in these companies. The companies have long-term contractual agreements to supply APP mills with pulpwood. Currently there are approximately 30 independent companies supplying pulpwood to APP mills.
As I said in my own post, only half of the 1,082,934 hectares under APP’s control have been developed for pulpwood plantations. The rest remains undeveloped, which includes set aside and areas licensed for pulpwood plantation development. These undeveloped areas will be subject to the High Conservation Value Assessments we announced last week.
There is a further misunderstanding about what is classified as HCVF. It goes far beyond a simple definition of ‘natural forest’. Out of the six HCVs, at least two could be found in shrubs or grasslands and at least two more HCVs are about areas critical to local communities.
According to the HCV Network, there are six classifications of HCV:
HCV1: Areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant concentrations of biodiversity values (e.g. endemism, endangered species, refugia)
HCV2: Globally, regionally or nationally significant large landscape-level areas where viable populations of most, if not all, naturally occurring species exist in natural patterns of distribution and abundance
HCV3: Areas that are in or contain rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems
HCV4: Areas that provide basic ecosystem services in critical situations (e.g. watershed protection, erosion control).
HCV5: Areas fundamental to meeting basic needs of local communities (e.g. subsistence, health).
HCV6: Areas critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity (areas of cultural, ecological, economic or religious significance identified in cooperation with such local communities).
Until we complete the HCV assessments, it won’t be possible to say for sure how much of our undeveloped land will be classified as ‘natural forests’ or HCV areas under one or more of the categories above.
It is our objective to identify, protect, maintain and enhance HCVs in our concessions, according to the HCV Management Plan. These HCVs could be biodiversity values found in our set aside areas, the degraded or logged-over forest areas in our concessions, endangered ecosystems, areas fundamental to meeting basic needs for local communities, areas critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity, or others.
On peat, our goal is to protect critical peat areas in accordance with the principles of sustainable peat land management and the laws and regulations of Indonesia. The new High Conservation Value (HCV) Assessments, in particular HCV 2 – 4, and the resulting HCV Management Plan will further support the protection of critical peat lands.
The important point to note is that APP is now committed to protecting HCV in all of its forms, not just natural forests.