Tackling Land Conflict Should Be a Priority in Stopping Deforestation

Land conflict is a pressing issue facing many natural resource-based, agri-businesses and communities around the world. The success of addressing major global issues, such as deforestation, largely depends on land conflict approaches. Prioritizing effective land management and defining clear land ownership and control are two key focus areas for tackling deforestation. However, without control of the forest, there will be no control over deforestation. As the need to tackle global emissions intensifies, it is right that the management of the world's forests, and the role of land conflict within this, receives more attention.

We have experienced this first hand at Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Those who follow our business will likely recall a recent independent evaluation by the Rainforest Alliance (RA), which recognized us for making moderate progress in the implementation of our Forest Conservation Policy (FCP), also widely known as our Zero Deforestation policy, an effort launched with the support of The Forest Trust and Greenpeace back in February 2013. The RA report found that APP and our suppliers had been successful on our critical commitment to halt deforestation.

The RA, however, also noted that clearance by unauthorized external parties continues. Several factors contribute to this: among them, overlapping concession rights with other businesses, encroachment, illegal activity or the actions of communities living close to our concessions. At APP, we believe more must be done and because of this, our FCP implementation plan for 2015 and beyond addresses unauthorized clearance as a key priority.

But we cannot do it alone.

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