A group of local and international NGOs have send a letter to the pulp-for-paper giant APRIL regarding the management of its concessions on tropical peatlands in the Kampar Peninsula. APRIL recently announced a peatland restoration project. However, at the same time, the company is continuing to drain peatlands in the same region, for pulp plantations which jeopardizes the peatland conservation and restoration ambitions.
The letter reminds APRIL that a recently published scientific report shows that their peatland management system is unsustainable and results in major CO2 emissions and soil subsidence, which leads in the longer term to flooding and unproductivity of the area. The desiccation of the peat soil as a result of the drainage causes increased fire risks, and despite their no-fire policy APRIL has not been able to prevent many and frequent fires from happening in its peat-based concessions. Therefore drained plantations on peatlands are environmentally, economically and socially irresponsible and alternative crops on rewetted peatlands should be introduced. The letter is also addressed to the Independent Peat Expert Working Group that will advise APRIL on its peatland management.
The letter is signed by Environmental Paper Network, Wetlands International, World Wildlife Fund, Rainforest Action Network, Canopy, JMGR, Walhi Riau, Scale-up and Yayasan Mitra Insani.