Jakarta. Top officials from the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Tuesday (24/10) met with executives from Indonesia’s second largest timber firm Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, or RAPP, to settle disputes over the government rejection of the company's long-term business plan, which has forced it to halt downstream activities.
RAPP was told to revise its 10-year business plan before Oct. 30 to comply with the government's new peatland ecosystems protection framework, a senior official from the ministry said."RAPP is fully aware that the work plan must be revised. They said they will immediately make the revisions. The work plan will be a guideline for their operations for the next 10 years, from 2017 until 2026," secretary general of the Environment and Forestry Ministry Bambang Hendroyono told reporters after meeting with the RAPP representatives at the ministry’s office in Jakarta.
Bambang said RAPP has made a commitment to improve peatland ecosystems protection and management within their concession areas in order to resume their downstream operations.
The pulp and paper company will no longer plant acacia or eucalyptus trees — both sources of paper — on protected peatlands within their concession areas, he added.
Bambang said the government will offer land swap deals to companies if at least 40 percent of their concession areas is located within a protected peatland area.
Irsan Syarief, the corporate director of RAPP's parent company Asia Pacific Resources International (April) said its management will start working as soon as possible to revise the work plan to comply with the government's peatland ecosystems protection framework.
"We will keep consulting with the ministry to clarify information that's still not clear," Irsan told reporters.
The Indonesian government started to pay more attention to the protection and management of peatlands after the country was condemned by the international community for failing to rein in deadly forest and land fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan back in 2015 that enveloped some of its Southeast Asian neighbors in thick, choking haze.