Published on February 21, 2014
Deforesta)on and Forest Protec)on in Indonesia A presenta)on in pictures, with notes All photographs taken by Tobias Webb from Jan 30 to Feb 4 2014 in Sumatra, Indonesia on a trip with APP/Sinar Mas forestry Author, the Smarter Business Blog at: Tobiaswebb.blogspot.com
Just a few kilometers from Pekanbaru, Sumatra, localised deforesta)on is clearly visible from the roadside. Indonesia has lost nearly half its forests due to logging and palm oil plan)ng
Devasta)on up front, oil palm at the back
Legal cuNng of an acacia planta)on by Sinar Mas forestry, AKA Asia Pulp & Paper. These trees are approximately ﬁve years old, and produce around 140 tonnes of wood per hectare. This Planta)on also serves as a ‘buﬀer zone’ to protect natural forest set aside by the company
Protected zone in green within yellow buﬀer zone
Acacia wood, when cut, is moved by canals cut into the forest
Heading into the forest with Indonesian ecologists to map species
With a “high conserva)on value” assessment team in the forest
Into the peat forest: Most of the set aside forest area in the midst of a Sinar Mas concession is accessible only by track, canal, river or helicopter. This forest may have been selec)vely logged in the past, according to experts
Despite slim-‐ish trunks, some natural forest has trees which reach over sixty meters in height
On a recent trip the author saw ﬁsh eagles, monitor Lizards, macaque monkeys, hornbills and a plethora of other wildlife in this reserve now protected by Asia Pulp & Paper / Sinar Mas
This forest o]en ﬂoods more than three meters above this level. Crocs lurk somewhere beneath, and ﬁsh eagles and hornbills ﬂy above
Riau Rubber tapper on the edge Of protected forest. He makes 80 US cents per kilo he collects. Oil Palm is o]en more lucra)ve
Local communi)es like this one in Riau, o]en on the edge of protected forest, as here, o]en burn secondary forest to plant oil palm
Secondary forest, as here in the background, protects carbon locked up in peat from being released, and supports biodiversity
Oil palm fruit: Valuable to poor villagers who are o]en migrant communi)es
Village life: boat building
Village oil palm: Seen as essen)al
Protected forest viewed from a helicopter. APP/Sinar Mas works to conserve this with the help of local communi)es: But when migrant communi)es want to cut forest, what then?
Just as the scale of deforesta)on is shocking, forest held back from destruc)on is stunning to see. The haze is caused by illegal forest burning across Riau
Shows the contrast between what was, and what is
Illegal burning of peatland to clear forest for oil palm in a protected na)onal park, next to an APP concession. Government protected areas lack capacity and will to enforce the law. When APP ﬁnds encroachment, they seek to persuade local police to help prevent forest destruc)on. A far cry from recently, when the company was responsible for much deforesta)on across Indonesia. Some campaigners say as much as half the past losses are due to APP/Sinar Mas. Now the company is commiged to saving what is le]
Lost forest is very hard, if not impossible to restore. APP/Sinar Mas has commiged to saving what’s le] in its own concessions and ‘sphere of inﬂuence’. A year into its commitments not to cut down any more natural forest, its agreement with The Forest Trust and Greenpeace is holding and the ﬁrm is star)ng to try and win back customers lost during 10 years of campaigning against it
APP / Sinar Mas seeks to improve acacia produc)vity to more than 200 tonnes per hectare so that the company can be self-‐suﬃcient in planta)on ﬁbre. Meanwhile rival APRIL says it will use natural forest ﬁbre un)l 2019 and is now in the crosshairs of campaign groups
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