Company linked to APP cuts down natural forest, drains high-carbon peatlands in Borneo

  • Before-One of the spot (covering 24,4 ha) within PT Muara Sungai Landak's concession. Drone imagery taken in September 2014 and September 2017 by Auriga's team.
    After-One of the spot (covering 24,4 ha) within PT Muara Sungai Landak's concession. Drone imagery taken in September 2014 and September 2017 by Auriga's team.
    2014 One of the spot (covering 24,4 ha) within PT Muara Sungai Landak's concession. Drone imagery taken in September 2014 and September 2017 by Auriga's team. 2017

Deforestation map and drone shots taken between 2014 and 2017 in MSL concession area, West Kalimantan. These show the destruction of natural forest on drained peatlands and development of an acacia plantation.

PT Muara Sungai Landak (MSL), the concession holder, is linked to Asia Pulp & Paper and its parent conglomerate, Sinar Mas Group, according to an investigation by the Associated Press published in December 2017. APP stated in response to the Associated Press investigation: “MSL is not a supplier to APP and has no business relations with APP.”

Following the Associated Press investigation, Greenpeace launched its own investigation that confirmed the Associated Press’ findings, and the conservation organization ended its engagement with APP’s sustainability program. Responding to Greenpeace, APP stated that the company conducted its own investigation and “found that three of MSL’s shareholders and not two as stated in the report and Greenpeace’s statement, had relationships with APP.”

Landsat 8 - 2013

June 2013

Landsat 8 - 2014

August 2014

Landsat 8 - 2015

July 2015

Landsat 8 - 2016

April 2016

Landsat 8 - 2017

June 2017

Satellite imagery is from Landsat 8 and downloaded from Earth Explorer.

APP does not acknowledge that MSL is its pulpwood supplier, but the ownership links investigated in the Associated Press story indicate a strong connection between Sinar Mas Forestry, APP’s fiber supplier, and MSL. Other evidence shows that Sinar Mas Forestry identified MSL in its expansion plans ten years ago. As reported by Straits Times, APP’s website posted a fire map of its partners in West Kalimantan that includes MSL. Following the Straits Times story, the fire map was removed from the APP website.

For all of APP’s claims to have reached its sustainability targets, until now (May 2018) – over five years after APP adopted its Forest Conservation Policy – there is no credible and transparent system for independent monitors to ensure that APP mills abstain from using rainforest timber.

In December 2016, APP’s annual demand for wood fiber in Indonesia increased by up to 75% when it opened its third mega-scale pulp mill in Sumatra. Despite a long record of using wood from natural forests to meet fiber demand, APP has not made public a credible long-term wood supply plan since it decided to build the OKI mill. The new OKI mill compounds pressures on Indonesia’s forests and carbon-rich peatlands, even as the Government of Indonesia pushes to restore peatlands after disastrous fires in 2015.

Peta Gambut

PT Muara Sungai Landak’s 13,000 ha HTI concession is entirely in a peatland area. According to the Ministry Agriculture’s 2011 map, the peat depth is between 1 and 2 meters. (Map compiled by Auriga)

Peta Gambut

APP’s OKI mill in South Sumatra started production in December 2016. It is one of the largest pulp mills in the world, and its fiber supply base is mostly on drained peatlands.