In his agreement with Norway, the President committed to institute a two year moratorium on all new concessions for conversion of peat and natural forest from January 2011. Yet immediately following the commitment, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry issued new permits to drain deep peat and clear natural forest in Riau. The new licenses may represent up to 29% and 50% of APP’s and APRIL’s Riau mill’s raw material needs. APP and APRIL seem to be in a great hurry to clear Riau’s remaining forests before the moratorium starts, putting the President into a very embarrassing position. To Eyes on the Forest, it appears the announcement of the moratorium has been a signal to clear even more forests, even faster.
The report from Eyes on the Forest finds that APP has been draining peat and clearing natural forests in Riau’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve while advertising globally its full support for the reserve. APP has been clearing crucial habitats of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger increasing the often deadly conflicts between people and tigers, while widely advertising its contribution to tiger conservation in the same area in this “Year of the Tiger”. APP has been clearing High Conservation Value Forests that it had publicly committed to protect, while promoting its commitment to protect high conservation value forests in its PR campaigns.
The report also finds that APRIL has been clearing High Conservation Value Forests in deep peat areas, which WWF had delineated and the company had agreed to protect. By doing so APRIL broke the agreement with its international auditor, Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood Program, who suspended the company’s FSC Controlled Wood certificate.