On Thursday, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) released a progress report on its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), which involves four main corporate commitments that have regulated the company’s resource development since 2013. APP claims to have accelerated progress in its peatland restoration work and strengthened fire prevention measures, in addition to promises to provide funding for additional conservation projects this year.
APP has completed more than 3,500 perimeter canals to increase water levels in APP suppliers’ concessions located on peatland, as part of the company’s Peatland Best Practice Management Project (PBPMP). A total target of 7,000 dams is expected to be reached by the end of Q1 2016.
The dams are in addition to the unprecedented retirement of 7,000 hectares (~17,300 acres) of commercial plantation areas in Indonesia for the purpose of peatland protection, announced by APP in August. The company and its suppliers have allocated an approximate total of 600,000 hectares (~1,482,600 acres) for forest conservation and ecosystem restoration within its suppliers' concessions.
Peatland protection is of particular concern since peat stores some of the highest quantities of carbon and emits methane – creating amplified emissions and toxic smog when ablaze. APP’s conservation work goes hand-in-hand with its new Integrated Fire Management (IFM) strategy, which will support efforts to significantly lower the risk of wildfires.
The IFM includes: fire detection and response training for 400 staff members of APP and its suppliers will be provided by fire management experts TREK Wildland Services from Canada and Working on Fire (WOF) from South Africa; 2 new aircraft with thermal imaging to assist with rapid response to emerging fire threats; 2 medium lift helicopters capable of carrying up to 3,500 liters for water-bombing; and new fire patrol route maps based on past fire occurrence and local risk factors.
These direct efforts to combat fires are supported by broader efforts to reduce deforestation. APP is in the process of rolling out its Integrated Forestry and Farming System Program, which is expected to help 500 Indonesian communities develop alternative livelihoods to achieve economic development while also keeping Indonesia’s forests intact. APP will be giving equipment and funding to support local businesses, in addition to horticultural training.