Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) allegedly violated its self-declared Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) commitment as it continued natural forest clearance in Bagan Melibur village of Padang Island, Riau province, an environmental group said.
Isnadi Isman from Riau Community Peatland Network (JMGR, Jaringan Masyarakat Gambut Riau) said last week that the forest clearance occurred inside the village’s area even though prior meditation on social conflict between PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP), APRIL’s timber supplier, and local community agreed to halt any company’s operations in the village until there is a final resolution for the conflict.
Isnadi said that PT RAPP cleared the forest inside area that was an enclave of concession as ordered by the Ministry of Forestry decree in 2012.
PT RAPP block Padang Island in Bagan Melibur Village, did not only ignore the voice of local community but also Meranti Islands District Administration who facilitated mediation for the conflicts, a villager said.
The District Head said that he would like to facilitate the community in order to find the resolution for the conflict between company and community, Sumarjan, a Bagan Melibur community leader, said as quoted by jurnalterkini.com
Sumarjan added that based on community’s monitoring, there are eight company’s heavy equipments logging, land clearing and transporting old timber logs. Meanwhile, in accordance to Minister of Forestry Decree No. 180/Menhut-II/2013, Bagan Melibur Village is excluded from RAPP’s concession area. That is why the community resist RAPP’s operations in the village.
“If the forest is cleared, it will be difficult for the people to meet their timber needs as raw material for making houses and other forest products which have become their livelihoods” Sumarjan added.
This is not the first time APRIL’s timber supplier PT RAPP breaches its commitment,. Previously in late May 2014 the company was caught to be felling trees down and making canals on Bagan Melibur’s disputed peatlands.
These violations are in contrast to APRIL’s SFMP commitment which claims to stop deforestation and receiving timber supplies from HCVF areas, said Muslim Rasyid of Jikalahari. On peat land management, APRIL promised a moratorium of all kinds of activities until independent HCVF assessment completed. However, the truth in the field proves nothing close to a good sustainable forest management.