Thursday, September 28, 2023

Government-Business Partnership to Protect Sumatra’s Peat Ecosystem

November 11, 2021 | 10:32 am

Jakarta. Pulp and paper producer APRIL Group reassured its Commitment to safeguarding Sumatra peat forest and biodiversity through its ecosystem restoration program, Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER).

During a session at Indonesia Pavilion on Indonesia Experience: Government-Business Partnerships on Conservation and Sustainable Management of Peatland Ecosystems held by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, APRIL Group's Deputy Director Dian Novarina shared how the RER program is an integral part of fulfilling APRIL's 1-for-1 Commitment where the company aims to protect or restore one hectare of forest for every hectare of sustainable fiber plantation it managed.

Until 2020, the company has fulfilled 81 percent of its target.

RER landscape management model is based on a production-protection approach.  The RER concession area is ringed by APRIL's plantation, which served as a protective buffer zone from illegal activities while at the same time providing reliable and consistent funding.

The RER program will not be possible without the support of the government in guiding its operation. 

"Last year, RER took part in a government-led effort in returning a rehabilitated female Sumatran tiger named Corina back into the wild on the Kampar Peninsula," Dian said. 

RER location was selected after extensive surveys. These surveys suggested the RER area, with its healthy forest condition, the abundance of prey species, and the presence of active protection, was the suitable location for Corina's release.

With the ongoing discussion on Nature-based Solutions in combating climate change, an ecosystem restoration program like RER is essential.

RER peat swamp forest on the Kampar Peninsula and Padang Island in Riau stores a massive amount of carbon below its peat soil. Besides that, they help sequester carbon from the atmosphere, which is crucial in fighting climate change, and contribute to government effort in reducing emissions from forest and other land use (FoLU).

RER areas on the Kampar Peninsula and Padang Island are also rich in biodiversity. RER has identified more than 800 species of animals and plants. 

"Sixty six of the identified species are listed in the IUCN red list. A recent census revealed that the RER area is home to 57 dragonfly species, with one species being the first to be recorded in Indonesia. This shows that there is still a big knowledge gap that we need to fill by managing this important ecosystem," Dian Novarina said, highlighting the importance of the RER program.

With the APRIL2030 Commitment launched last year, RER will play an essential part in fulfilling one of its four pillars, the Thriving Landscape. APRIL aims to improve forest protection and increase biodiversity gains through partnerships, collaboration, and advancing knowledge on tropical peatland science.

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