Indonesia paper plantations destroyed to protect peat forests

Greenpeace has congratulated Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) on taking a decision to immediately retire around 7,000 hectares of existing acacia plantations located in two of Sumatra’s threatened peat swamp forest landscapes.

The decision follows the first round of rapid assessment management recommendations delivered by APP’s independent peat expert team, which is led by the Dutch organisation Deltares.

Greenpeace has commended both APP and Deltares for their groundbreaking and unprecedented initiative to create new high-tech maps of the peatland landscapes, where APP suppliers are located.

Covering some 5 million hectares – nearly 25 per cent of Indonesia’s peatlands, an area larger than The Netherlands – the mapping initiative features LiDAR technology to build an accurate picture of the major peat domes that need protecting. This constitutes the most comprehensive and credible data on peatlands ever obtained in Indonesia.

The resulting analysis will provide the foundation Deltares needs to make additional recommendations to APP on how to reduce or reverse the identified impacts of its existing plantations on neighbouring peat swamp forests, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

Global head of Indonesia forest campaign Bustar Maitar said: "Today’s announcement by APP is a potential game changer for the future of Indonesia’s peatland landscapes and tangible action to tackle climate change. Its announcement that it is taking immediate action to retire a number of existing commercial plantation areas and restore them to peat swamp forests sets an important benchmark. Greenpeace calls on other plantation companies to take similar urgent action and work together to ensure all Indonesia’s peatland landscapes are properly monitored and protected."

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