1. Will peatlands be restored?
Peat protection can consist of peat rehabilitation – rewetting and managing water levels and restoring the functionality of peat below the surface, and peat restoration – restoring peat vegetation above and improving hydrological capacities below the surface. Rehabilitating and restoring peatlands are some of the most effective ways that APP can protect forests from the risk of fire and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
APP follows guidance from experts including the Indonesian Peat Agency as part of its best practice management of peat to make decisions on which option to choose in specific landscapes. Working with Deltares, APP has completed two LiDAR mapping exercises in 2015 and 2017 respectively covering 5.5 million hectares. We have also built 5,076 perimeter canals dams to rewet and maintain water levels in natural forests adjacent to our suppliers’ production areas. So far APP has retired 7,000 hectares of peatland.
2. Does the FCP mean you will no longer be developing peatland in Indonesia?
The Government of Indonesia has instituted a permanent moratorium on new developments on primary forests and peatlands, which prevents all companies from doing so.
3. Why has APP only retired 7,000 hectares of peatland if all assessments have already been completed?
From the HCS and HCV assessments, APP was able to identify, using scientific data, peatland areas of high worth. The most important of which are in the retired 7,000 hectares of peatland. The retired peatland serves as a testbed for APP to see how various restoration and rehabilitation processes are effective. APP has plans to continue reviewing the data and does intend to retire more peatland.
4. Lack of progress in restoration and trading of degraded peatlands for areas that may have natural forest and community claims. What are your comments?
APP completed a second LiDAR mapping of peatland areas in 2017, which covers approximately 5 million hectares across Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra (Musi) Banyuasin (Muba), Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI)) and West Kalimantan. Following the first LiDAR mapping in 2015, the second mapping provided a more refined grid and higher resolution surface model and water zonation, giving APP a better understanding of the depth and condition of the peat.
APP has also built 5,076 perimeter canals dams to rewet and maintain water levels in natural forests adjacent to their suppliers’ production areas.
In addition, APP retired 7,000 hectares of commercial plantations on peatlands near Berbak-Sembilang National Park in South Sumatra, which are now used to develop knowledge on strategies to restore peat, including on assisted restoration.
APP is working with academics and researchers in finding suitable methods to restore peat forests on a large scale. In collaboration with Gadjah Mada University (UGM), APP has identified 12 species able to grow in peatlands with higher water tables for commercial, restoration and community production (paludiculture) purposes. Four of the species are already planted and monitored in a trial site in Riau.
5. How are you going to deal with peat subsidence on your plantations?
We now have a team of peatland experts who are analysing the situation on the ground both in plantations and natural forest, and we will take their advice, to ensure that we are implementing best management practices for peatland. Additionally, we are focused on the conservation of forested peatlands.