Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) has been found in a new satellite imagery analysis by Foresthints.news to have exploited recovering tropical peatlands, which were previously drained by the company more than a decade ago, for pulpwood expansion.

The practice of re-draining these recovering peatlands was carried out by PT Arara Abadi, an APP-owned company and timber supplier. PT Arara Abadi re-drained recovering peatlands in its pulpwood concession in Riau’s Siak regency, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

According to APP, the area is not high carbon stock, that means it is not forested: “This area was an ex-planted area in which the original planted acacia had poor growth and was of low quality. As such, PT Arara Abadi operations have decided to replant the acacia,” APP said.

However, according to Foresthints.news, satellite picture show that in the area, deforested by APP in 2002, the forest is regenerating. The maps are dated 2015, and by 2018 forest regeneration was likely even more pronounced. Despite this, APP decided to re-drain the peatlands, claiming that they are not High Carbon Stock (i.e. forested) area.

Foresthints.news has published maps that suggest a serious violation of APP’s policy, by clearing reforested land and draining the peat. The maps can be viewed on the web site, http://www.foresthints.news/app-re-drains-recovering-peatlands-for-acacia-expansion

“Had they not been re-drained, the recovering peatlands in question would have served as an example of a natural peat recovery process, epitomizing the Indonesian government’s legal adoption of natural peat recovery as part of its protection efforts for degraded peatlands,” concluded Foresthints.news.