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Sustainability - Forest New
Over half a million hectares of natural forests conserved
Protecting and conserving the forests, peatlands and biodiversity which sustain our business.
Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas is committed to achieving sustainable forest management, balancing conservation with production aspects through a landscape approach. We work to protect and restore natural forest in concession areas as well as optimising forest management to ensure sufficient supply of raw material from our existing plantations to supply our pulp mills.
To ensure that our supply chain is free from deforestation, APP Sinar Mas requires all pulpwood suppliers--both current and potential to comply with our Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) as well as our Responsible Fiber Procurement and Purchasing Policy (RFPPP). It provides an overarching framework for the specific processes and criteria that we use in evaluating their compliance with our FCP.
We have developed a robust tool to facilitate the implementation of the RFPPP across our fiber supply chain, called the Supplier Evaluation and Risk Assessment (SERA). For new suppliers, SERA acts as an initial screening to evaluate the level of risk within a supplier’s operations.
Developed based on global standards for Sustainable Forest Management, SERA evaluates suppliers against 12 indicators.
The company, or any of its associated companies in the pulpwood industry, converting natural forest after February 1st, 2013.
Country / region
Chain of Custody System
Protection of High Conservation Values or High Carbon Stock
Company’s respect for traditional civil and human rights
Company’s respect for the health and safety of forest workers
The SERA assessment follows the following process, which includes a 14-day public consultation period:
Note: JSC (Joint Steering Committee) is a committee that makes the final decision on accepting suppliers based on the SERA process and outcomes. JSC consists of the Sustainability Division Head, the Forestry Operational Division Head, the Procurement Division Head, and the Managing Director.
The complete list of APP Sinar Mas pulpwood suppliers are available in the Supplier Management. The summary of the risk assessment report of all potential suppliers also available on our Reports & Updates.
Achieving a sustainable supply chain is critical for us. To achieve that, APP Sinar Mas focuses on growth and yield improvement to maximise the efficiency of our fibre supply chain. Our strategy includes site-class matching where we classify the plantation areas based on soil types, soil textures, flooding risks, which it is classified through site index, in order to determine which tree species and relevant silviculture management practices are required in specific planting sites to ensure optimum growth of the tree.
In monitoring the growth and health of the plantations, APP Sinar Mas currently implement Precision Forestry concept, where we acquire monitoring images captured using UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) which are then processed and analysed using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm. The AI consists of more than 60 modellings which is able to identify and analyse blank spots between the trees in certain age, trees health, poorly-growing trees, flooded areas, and trees count, all of which are available through a dashboard accessible through mobile devices of our expert teams. This ensures we are able to respond to the issues promptly, minimizing risk and optimizing the yield of the plantations.
APP Sinar Mas Forestry Research and Development Team, has the role to support the forestry operations of APP and its pulpwood suppliers. The forestry Research and Development works focus on finding superior tree species for production, as well as improving silviculture management, weed management, and managing pest and disease.
To further improve the forestry operation, APP Sinar Mas aims to implement 100% automation in nursery operation as well as in the planting process in order to address the challenge of inconsistency that is often found in the manual planting process. It is expected through automating some parts of the process, we are able to achieve consistent and uniformed tree growth and health, so that the plantation can achieve optimum yield.
Sustainable Forest Management
When we launched the first Sustainability Roadmap in 2012, we set a goal to achieve 100% of our pulpwood suppliers to be certified under any of the independent, third-party forest certification schemes. We have achieved the goal; 100% of our suppliers plantations are certified under third party certification schemes and we plan to maintain this in the years to come.
To ensure that our suppliers manage their concession areas in accordance to the FCP commitments, we have developed and continue to implement the Integrated Sustainable Forest Management Plan (ISFMP).
The ISFMP was developed through a long collaborative process that involved compiling and consolidating data as well as recommendations gathered through various assessments as well as input from all relevant stakeholders including local communities, government, academia, and civil societies. The document detailed pulpwood suppliers action plans for improving sustainability and management practices, in order to ensure that our FCP commitments have been considered and adhered to.
A key aspect in APP Sinar Mas Sustainability Roadmap is balancing the production activity and the protection of the natural forest within APP Sinar Mas and its suppliers concession areas. As a result of the HCV and HCS assessments conducted from 2013 to 2015 across all concessions supplying to APP Sinar Mas, more than 600,000 hectares have been set aside for conservation purpose. This is approximately 20% of the total concession areas supplying APP Sinar Mas, twice the size of what the regulation requires.
However, the challenges inherent in the effort to protect natural forest cannot be overstated. Threats in the form of illegal activities such as illegal logging, encroachment as well as forest fire remains within the area that we aim to protect. As one of the monitoring and prevention measures, we implement forest patrol across our and our suppliers concession areas, whether it is by our own resources or collaborating with relevant external stakeholders. Since 2017, we have also put in place a Forest Monitoring System as a alert service, using data from RADARSAT-2 satellite to identify forest cover change that takes place in our protected areas, enabling our team to respond quicker to events on the ground.
Despite that, these are complex issues which often falls outside of our direct sphere of influence. To address that, we need to engage a wide range of stakeholders: from communities, NGOs, government, to the industry. As such, we are working closely with partners and stakeholders to design, implement, and test our programs, as well as developing best practices along the way.
Moving forward we will further improve our engagement on collaborative law enforcement to address the risk of illegal activities in the concession areas, integrate the SMART patrol into our regular forest patrols, as well as improve engagement with the local communities through Collaborative Conservation Management.
As of May 2020, we have also made our forest alert data available for public access. Our stakeholders who would like to monitor forest cover change in APP’s and APP’s suppliers concession areas, can visit APP Forest Monitoring Dashboard.
Restoration & Rehabilitation
In the protected areas of APP Sinar Mas pulpwood suppliers concession areas, there are forest areas that have been degraded, whether due to fire or illegal activities. As part of our Sustainability Roadmap, we are working on forest restoration activities in these areas.
In 2015 we worked to map out areas across our suppliers concession to be targeted for restoration.
As the first step to restoration, we engaged with experts to develop restoration strategies for the different soil types: mineral soil, marine clay and peat, which was completed in 2018. Progress in restoration work is monitored through assessing vegetation class based on the HCS Approach classification. Progress in restoration is considered to be made if there is an improvement of vegetation class achieved, such as from open land to young scrubs or from young scrubs to young regenerating forest (YRF).
Limited availability of local species seedlings to be used for restoration remains one of the key obstacles in our restoration work. To address that, we are building more nurseries of local tree species as well as investing in the development of seed stands for key local species to ensure continued availability of seeds while also collaborated with some institutions for seedling propagation technique.
Since 2013 APP Sinar Mas has engaged international peat experts to assist in developing a Peatland Best Management Practice approach. In 2015 APP Sinar Mas conducted peat mapping using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to understand the peat distribution and typology in the landscapes where our suppliers operate. Based on the captured data, APP Sinar Mas retired 7,000 hectares of productive plantations on critical peat for conservation purpose. We have been working with various institutions and experts to determine the best approach for peat restoration.
Additionally, we have built more than 5,000 perimeter canal blocks to maintain near-natural water level in the protected areas bordering to our suppliers’ concession areas, as well as undertaking research to identify alternative tree species that thrives in peat with high water level for both conservation and production purposes.
In 2020, our suppliers received government approval on their revised work plan, including the zonation of areas that need to be retired for conservation purposes. These areas are located on critical peat dome peaks, and restoration works will commence when the current planting cycle has ended. Based on the work plan, it is expected that by 2024, all plantations located on critical peat dome peaks will have been retired.
However, despite the shared opinion that critical peat needs to be restored, success stories of peat restoration, particularly on large areas, is still rare. This partly is due to the lack of knowledge on what kind of supporting condition of the peatland that would achieve successful restoration on peat. In order to ensure successful restoration effort, APP now is working with leading international research university in determining effective and efficient restoration strategies, with a particular focus of natural regeneration approach. Natural succession approach become the focus as it is considered the most feasible, cost-effective approach for restoration effort on large area.
However, we acknowledge that in many cases, enrichment planting is needed. To ensure that we have enough local tree seedlings to support the restoration activity, we are working on a community-based nursery programme. Additionally, this programme, which is co-funded by the IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative and implemented by G-Cinde, aims to empower the local community by providing them with alternative livelihood and education on the importance of forest protection and restoration.
APP Sinar Mas will continue to engage partners to further the work in research on peat restoration to define the strategy for peat restoration and protection We will also continue to improve our peatland management on the ground as well as research projects in collaboration with experts in hydrology and ecology.
Conservation And Biodiversity
We continue to maintain, protect and enhance the High Conservation Values that have been identified in APP Sinar Mas and its suppliers concession areas. Based on the identified HCV, we are focusing our effort on three priority species of fauna: Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant, and orangutan, with a specific objective to maintain wildlife corridors and roaming areas in our and our pulpwood supplier concession areas. To achieve this objective, we track population numbers, map distributions, minimize human-wildlife conflicts, establish ecological corridors within and between concessions, including feeding pockets, as well as working on collaborative law enforcement to reduce risk of poaching within APP Sinar Mas and its suppliers concession areas.
In addition to the animal species, we also work to conserve and cultivate the indigenous tree species in the areas where we operate in. There are 10 indigenous tree species that we are currently focusing our efforts on. We have identified the respective protected areas as the ecosystem of these species. These local tree species will be planted as part of the continues enrichment efforts aimed to rehabilitate areas that have been degraded.
Sumatran Tiger Conservation
In 2017, with help from several partners, we improved tiger habitats by establishing wildlife corridors and conducted camera trap surveys to track tiger populations. We also established a specialist team to mitigate human-tiger conflict by educating field workers and communities. Our partners in this work include the government, the Sumatran Tiger Conservation Foundation (Forum HarimauKita), and ZSL Indonesia.
Sumatran Elephant Conservation
In 2017 we set up feeding stations within our concessions and expanded the population monitoring movements. We also established a specialist team to manage human-elephant conflicts by educating communities and running anti-poaching patrols using non-violent and educational methods. Our partners in this include the government, the Indonesian Elephant Conservation Forum (Forum Konservasi Gajah Indonesia), and the Belantara Foundation.
We support measures to reduce human-orangutan conflicts and continue to raise awareness to help enforce our zero-tolerance policy on harming endangered species. We work together with Natural Resources Conservation Agency – East Kalimantan, Kutai National Park, and the Orangutan Foundation International.
Indigenous Tree Species Conservation
Part of the restoration activities that APP is doing is planting the indigenous local tree species. This is done in order to maintain the natural composition of the local ecosystem as well as to conserve the local species, many of which are getting increasingly rare due to over exploitation or forest conversion.
In 2019, APP and its pulpwood suppliers predominantly planted Ramin and Balangeran (Shorea balangeran) species in the restoration areas where these two species are native of. The focus on Ramin and Balangeran was due to the lack of availability of the seedlings of the other indigenous species that APP focuses on.
To address this, APP and its pulpwood suppliers have been working to establish seed stands for several of the indigenous tree species. The seed stands of Kulim tree in one of APP’s pulpwood suppliers in Riau, PT Arara Abadi, has been certified, which means that there is enough good quality Kulim trees available that will be able to continuously provide good quality Kulim seeds.
Good quality seeds mean that the seeds are genetically rich and will be able to add to the generic richness in the ecosystem where it will be planted later.
In 2020, we gained significant progress in propagating Ramin by using a macro-cutting technique. Currently, there are nearly 8,000 seedlings available in our nursery.
Integrated Fire Management
The occurrence of forest fires is a complex global issue that affects both local communities and the environment. The complex nature of the problem necessitates a multi-stakeholder approach that is at the heart of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas approach.
We place great emphasis on working closely with our pulpwood suppliers, local communities and relevant stakeholders to prevent and mitigate such land and forest fires.
Our target is to maintain area affected by fire to less than 2% in APP Sinar Mas and its suppliers concession areas. This is done through implementing Integrated Fire Management (IFM) system, which is based on global best practices for fire management, and comprises of four pillars: prevention, preparedness, early detection, and rapid response.