An environmental NGO has said natural forest clearance conducted by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and its supplier companies has affected the endangered Sumatran tiger.
World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia communication coordinator Desma Murni said in Jakarta on Sunday there were many forestry timber concession areas that overlapped with the habitat of the Sumatran tiger ' most of them in areas not yet entitled to legal protection.
'As the concession holder, from the very beginning APP has not shown responsible conduct by felling trees in areas identified as the habitat of the protected species,' she said as quoted by Antara news agency.
Desma said the Sumatran tiger was the only tiger sub-species left in Indonesia. Based on 2004 official data, she said, only around 400 Sumatran tigers could be found in their natural habitat and the number continued to decline due to excessive land clearing.
'If we continue to let this happen, the Sumatran tiger as a top predator will go extinct,' said Desma.
She said APP may no longer conduct forest clearance activities in the area. However, according to Eyes on the Forest (EoF) reports, as of April, the pulp and paper industry had continuously carried out natural forest clearance even after it signed a commitment to stop clearing natural forests.
Desma said most of APP's industrial forest permit (HTI) concession areas, particularly in Sumatra, were located in peat lands, which used a drainage system as a water management system.
The company's new forest conservation police (FCP) has indicated it will continue and/or carry out high conservation value (HCV) and high carbon stock (HCS) studies in areas that are both still heavily covered with forests and can produce natural timber.
'In fact, as we know, most of APP's HTI concession areas have been cleared and converted into acacia plantations. It's very unlikely there will be an evaluation of natural forests as stipulated in the HCV and HCS study plans,' she said.
Desma added the safety of Sumatran tigers and their existence in both the Kerumutan and Pulau Muda blocks remained a question due to APP's lack of transparency in tackling human and animal conflicts. (ebf)