According to the website Foresthints.news, Asia Pulp and Paper subsidiary PT BMH has expanded its acacia plantations in South Sumatra on an area equivalent to around 500 soccer fields, including areas targeted by the Peat Restoration Agency for peat recovery, following the fires of 2015. Foresthints conducted spatial calculations, based on time-series data sourced from USGS Landsat 8 and ESA Sentinel-2 images, and found the company has also built more than 37 kilometers of new drainage canals.
Building new drainage canals and expanding on peat is now forbidden according to the new peat regulations. National policies were put in place because expansion of peat clearance and drainage is a major source of CO2 emissions and creates conditions on the ground that makes fire impossible to control.
According to a recent EPN paper, APP alone is responsible annually for almost 44 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from its plantations on dried peat, an amount nearly as much as the country of Norway.
Foresthints also reports that, “In the meantime, an agroforestry program and the creation of new rice fields for local communities, which are supposed to be part of the PT BMH-community forestry partnership, have not materialized in the partnership’s first year.”