Recently, I posted a blog about my first experience in the Climate Leadership Programme (CLP), initiated by the German Agency for International Development (GIZ) in collaboration with the Southeast Asia Pacific Center for Climate Risk and Opportunity Management (CCROM). The CLP is a one-year program that aims to provide professional development for climate leaders from Indonesia and South Africa. This is done through a series of workshops, prototyping projects and dialogues among relevant resource persons and climate leaders.
I just got back from their third National Workshop –and I have to tell you, it’s just getting better.
To widen our perspective about various initiatives and tactics for tackling climate change, GIZ invited a representative from the business sector, Mr. Canecio P. Munoz, to share his experience on sustainable forest management and stakeholder engagement. Mr. Munoz is the Executive Director of Environmental Affairs and Stakeholder Relations of Sinarmas Forestry (SMF), which is part of the APP management team and exclusive pulpwood supplier to APP’s two pulp mills.
During his presentation, Mr. Munoz discussed land allocation in Indonesia. He explained that out of the 191 million hectares of Indonesian land mass, 42% is allocated for non-forest use and infrastructure. Additionally, 27% is reserved for permanent conservation, while another 27% is allocated for natural production forests (usually for selective logging). Only 4% is actually allocated for plantation forest development – surprisingly less than what some might think.
For example, out of the 4% of land allocated for plantation forest development, pulpwood plantations managed by SMF and its partners make up less than 2%, or around 2.5 million hectares. Based on national regulations on sustainable forest management, concession holders have to set aside a minimum of 30% of the total concession land for conservation, community settlement and infrastructure. Beyond compliance, SMF set aside around 1 million total hectares of its concession area for conservation, species protection and preservation, community use and related infrastructure. In comparison, the size of this land is 10 times larger than Berlin.
In his presentation, Mr. Munoz also discussed current trends in the pulp and paper market for countries across the globe. Countries in Asia and Latin America such as Indonesia, China and Brazil have a huge potential to increase their market share in the pulp and paper industry. These countries have the benefit of climate on their side. Located in the tropical climate, trees for pulpwood can be harvested in only five or six years compared to 20 to 60 years in colder countries. But based on a 2011 Lippincott Study on Consumer Attitude, these new pulp and paper industry players need to be competitive not just on price and product performance but also in terms of corporate responsibility –including the sustainability of raw material sourcing.
I couldn’t agree more. One of the ways SMF does this in collaboration with APP is with the the Giam Siak Kecil – Bukit Batu Biosphere Reserve in Riau Province, which is a science-based effort between the private sector (APP and its pulpwood suppliers), the science community (Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the University of Riau), government (the Natural Resources and Conservation Agency of Riau Province) and international organizations (the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program). The Biosphere Reserve is a great example of collaboration with the private sector. It also supports the UNESCO Man and Biosphere concept, which aims to balance the environmental protection of a high conservation value area with the social and economic growth of the community living in and around it.
The discussion of sustainable forest management led to a series of interesting questions, one of which I think is important to further explain here on Rainforest Realities. During the session, the following was asked: What is the current condition of the 500 thousand hectares that SMF will convert into pulpwood plantations? If there are trees in there, what do they do with the trees?
First, area that is designated for plantation forest development by the government of Indonesia is mostly degraded forest and barren land. These areas are mostly old selective logging areas (HPH) or areas that were burned before, either from natural causes such as the el Niño phenomena or from the slash and burn practice of local communities. That is why the government allocates these areas for plantation forest development. The only way these areas can be improved and bring economic benefits is by leasing the land to the private sectors.
Second – Indonesia being a very rich nation in terms of natural resources – within those degraded and burned areas designated for plantation there are also bits of high conservation area as well as land that is occupied by the community and spots of trees still standing. Based on the national regulations, before developing any land concession, holders have to go through various independent audits and assessments in order to identify high conservation value (HCV) areas based on the government of Indonesia regulations and to identify area that is occupied by communities. By law, the concession holders have to set aside around 30% of its operation area for those purposes above – conservation and community use including related infrastructure. These areas cannot be converted into plantations.
Lastly, the remaining woods that are approved to be used for legal plantation forest development are sent to pulp mills to be used as raw material for pulp production. These woods are classified as Mixed Tropical Hardwood (MTH). It is called “mixed” for a good reason. Generally, MTH can come from a number of sources, such as:
- Recycled paper
- The legal and sustainable harvesting of trees
- Tree residues that are cleared after a forest area has become degraded, logged-over or burned
In turn, you can find MTH in a number of products such as paper, house flooring, furniture, wooden decorations, toys and musical instruments, as well as numerous other items.
The bottom line to remember is that as far as APP products are concerned, MTH does not come from the felling of virgin tropical rainforest trees in Indonesia. APP has strict policies and practices in place to ensure that only residues from legal plantation development on degraded or logged-over forest areas and sustainable wood fiber enters the production supply chain.
This sustainable forest process along with APP’s zero tolerance policy on illegal wood is important to demonstrate our own climate leadership and adherence to the policies of the Indonesian government.
During the climate leadership workshop, Mr. Munoz did a great job of bringing greater awareness to the facts surrounding these issues, and I hope others will continue to support the industry’s sustainable forestry practices while collaborating with the private sector on environmental conservation.
Tags: APP, Asia Pulp & Paper, Asia Pulp and Paper, Climate Leadership Programme, HCVF, High Conservation Value, High Conservation Value Forest, mixed tropical hardwood, MTH, Sinarmas Forestry, sustainable forest management