November 5, 2018

Pulpwood company bulldozing Bornean orangutan habitat

(foresthints.news) - PT Industrial Forest Plantation (IFP), a pulpwood company, is continuing to bulldoze Indonesian natural forests with good forest cover, classified as high carbon stock (HCS) forests, to make way for new pulpwood plantations while also profiting from the valuable logs within them.

The HCS forests being cleared by the company, whose land cover still consists of secondary forests, are home to the critically-endangered Bornean orangutan, according to data from the IUCN.

This concession, located in Central Kalimantan’s Kapuas regency, covers an area equivalent to more than a hundred thousand soccer fields. Only 10% of the concession forms part of a peat ecosystem. 

The huge pulpwood concession was granted a permit in mid-October 2009, but only began operating in 2016 after being taken over by a new owner.

The Bornean orangutan-inhabited forests being destroyed by PT IFP are to be replaced with eucalyptus and acacia trees, both of which are sources of fiber supply for the pulp and paper industry.

The Planet Explorer images below, provided by the foresthints.news spatial team, portray the ongoing leveling of the Bornean orangutan habitat in the pulpwood concession from May to July 2018.

The large-scale development of pulpwood plantations, as exemplified by the continuing operations in the PT IFP concession, represents indisputable evidence that the ties between Indonesian pulp fiber supply chains and HCS deforestation are certain to extend for many years to come.

In the period from August to October 2018, the removal of secondary forests distributed within the PT IFP concession went ahead unabated in line with the pulpwood company’s target, as demonstrated in the following Planet Explorer images.

It seems that PT IFP has no concerns at all about eradicating the forests which play host to the Bornean orangutan in this concession of almost 1.5 times the size of Singapore.

The concession in question is not a land swap permit, in which an existing pulpwood concession that gets incorporated into a peat protection zone is compensated with a new non-peat concession by the government, seeing that as of now no such land swap has taken place. 

There is undeniably a clear and obvious gap between the demand for and supply of pulpwood in Indonesia. This has led to related business expansion through which the long-term sufficient supply of pulpwood is still not secured.

If companies such as PT IFP consider this existing gap to be a business opportunity by developing new pulpwood plantations, thereby destroying HCS forests and the Bornean orangutan habitat, this will only exacerbate the problem.