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Asia Pulp & Paper launches agroforestry for Indonesia

Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) has launched the agroforestry program in 500 villages to help protect Indonesia’s forests. Source: Timberbiz

The aim of the program is to demonstrate that economic development can be pursued in a sustainable way that supports rather than undermines the protection of Indonesia’s forests.

APP announced its latest sustainable development commitment at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, COP21.

The announcement was made after APP presented details of its forest and peat land protection initiatives, which support Indonesia’s ambitions to achieve a 29% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030.

Since the launch of its Forest Conservation Policy in February 2013, APP has implemented initiatives to help communities develop alternative livelihoods, to reduce the risk of fires and achieve economic development while keeping Indonesia’s forests intact.

This new commitment to Indonesia’s communities is in addition to APP’s existing pledge to support the protection and restoration of 1 million hectares of forest landscapes and to channel and coordinate US$10 million a year of in-kind and financial support into forest conservation across Indonesia, announced in 2014.

APP’s commitment will be delivered through a series of pilot community agroforestry programs. These could include the sharing of: rearing initiatives for livestock; sustainable fruit and vegetable farming techniques; and forestry and business skills to enable alternative livelihoods that do not require the clearance of natural forest for further economic development.

The programs will help reduce the pressure on Indonesia’s remaining natural forests whilst improving the livelihoods of local communities.

In addition, the programs will be designed to help reduce instances of conflict over land by providing less land-intensive development options and will help to reduce instances of land encroachment and slash and burn activities.

APP’s programs will focus on bringing together agriculture, forestry and vocational skills development and will be designed to build upon the local knowledge of communities by bringing in best practice and applicable techniques from across industry and academia.

“A key theme of COP21 is to ensure that economic development goes hand-in-hand with environmental protection,” Aida Greenbury, Managing Director, Sustainability APP said.

“We believe that this new agroforestry program will help communities to achieve economic development while protecting Indonesia’s forests.

“The issues facing Indonesia’s forests need to be managed at the landscape level, and local communities have a very important stake in the forest.

“Whilst these programs are at an early pilot stage, we will be working to help introduce and spread sustainable farming techniques that are compatible with forest protection.”