WWF gives cautious welcome to large logging company’s decision to cease clearing tropical forests in Sumatra
WWF has welcomed the announcement in February by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) that it will stop clearing Indonesia’s tropical forests and peatlands to allow an assessment of their conservation and carbon values, but calls for independent confirmation that this commitment is real.
Owned by the Indonesian Sinar Mas conglomerate, APP runs two of the world’s largest pulp mills on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a global conservation priority, and has for years been cutting valuable tropical forest, using the pulp for toilet paper, tissue, copy paper and packaging that it sells worldwide.
An independent analysis shows that APP and its wood suppliers are responsible for clearing more than 2 million hectares of rainforest on the island since beginning operations in 1984.
“APP today committed to most of WWF’s calls. If the company follows through on this, it could be great news for Indonesia’s forests, biodiversity and citizens,” said Nazir Foead, Conservation Director of WWF-Indonesia.
“Unfortunately, APP has a long history of making commitments to WWF, customers and other stakeholders that it has failed to live up to. We hope this time the company does what it promised. WWF plans to independently monitor APP’s wood sourcing and forestry activities for compliance with its commitments and regularly update stakeholders on the findings,” he said.
A fully implemented moratorium on pulping forests with high conservation and high carbon value would have a profound impact on Indonesia’s biodiversity, as well as on Indonesia’s carbon emissions. WWF urges all of the country’s pulp producers to stop using tropical forests.
Sumatra is a conservation priority due to the huge wealth of biodiversity in the forests which have been severely reduced in recent years, and which are home to many endemic and endangered species such as orang utan, rhino and tiger. The forests and peatlands also contain vast amounts of carbon which, if released by burning or forest clearance, will contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.
Posted: February 5 2013; Updated April 30 2013