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APP Suffers Fiber Supply Loss from South Sumatra Fires

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According to a report this past week by the Mongabay Conservation Journal, Menlo Park, Cali, USA, peat fires burned 293,065 hectares of land within concessions managed by Indonesian based Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) suppliers during last year’s haze crisis, an area amounting to 37% of the company's holdings in South Sumatra, finds a new analysis released by a coalition of Sumatra-based environmental groups. Of that area, 86,004 hectares were plantations, representing 26% of APP’s total planted area in the province.

The findings, say the coalition, put APP’s fiber supply for its new OKI mill in question since the Indonesian government has indicated that it will prevent replanting of areas burned in 2015.

"Our analysis raises serious questions about how this significant plantation loss will influence the fiber supply for APP’s new mega-scale pulp mill, PT. OKI Mill," said the coalition statement released this past Thursday. The coalition expressed concern over where the timber for the new mill might be sourced and whether an expanded footprint could have impacts on forests and communities. It issued a series of demands, ranging from disclosure of the results of a "verification" of burned areas, rehabilitation of burned areas, and a detailed explanation of how APP will meet OKI Mill’s projected demand for fiber. 

For its part, APP has repeatedly stated that its zero deforestation policy applies to all current and future suppliers, meaning that if it couldn’t develop sufficient plantations in South Sumatra to meet its needs, it wouldn’t clear forests in other parts of Sumatra or even Borneo or New Guinea to produce more fiber. APP also announced earlier this month new initiatives to prevent and control fires in its concessions, protect and restore peatlands at a landscape level, and better manage water levels in plantations.
APP is Indonesia’s largest pulp and paper producer, controlling hundreds of thousands of hectares of land from Sumatra to Kalimantan. Long a target of environmentalists for its forestry practices and conflicts with local communities, APP in 2013 adopted a comprehensive forest conservation policy that aims to reform how it operates across its supply chain. APRIL, APP’s biggest competitor, adopted a similar policy in 2015.  

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