November 28, 2019

APP Sinarmas sets new peat fire record this year

JAKARTA (foresthints.news)  Asia Pulp and Paper (APP Sinarmas) has exacerbated its poor track record in that the burned areas in one of the pulpwood concessions it controls (PT BMH) exceed those areas burned in all other concessions in Indonesia this year.

This APP concession lies in a single, huge peat ecosystem, along with two other APP-owned concessions (PT BAP and PT SBA), covering an area greater than Bali in South Sumatra’s OKI regency. 

The PT BMH concession was afflicted by massive peat fires in 2015, for which it received a heavy sanction from Indonesian forestry authorities and was also obliged to issue a public apology in a newspaper.  

This year, however, the burned areas in the PT BMH concession are even more extensive than those in 2015, as clearly referenced by the data on 2015’s burned areas submitted by APP to the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry.

The following LandViewer images show some of this year’s burned areas in the PT BMH concession. This APP concession is this year’s winner in terms of area burned by peat fires across APP-controlled concessions, and also compared to concessions owned by other business groups in Indonesia.

The aforementioned data on 2015’s burned areas in the PT BMH concession indicates that over 37,000 hectares were affected, equivalent to more than half the size of Singapore, as previously reported by foresthints.news (Nov 11).

This figure, meanwhile, is dwarfed by the extent of the burning in the PT BMH concession this year, which - according to South Sumatra’s Forestry Agency - amounts to almost 50,000 hectares (as of Nov 12), or nearly 70% the size of Singapore.

The LandViewer satellite images below also depict parts of the APP-owned PT BMH concession, which has an office in Singapore and tops the list of concessions impacted by peat fires in Indonesia in 2019.

With reference to the methodology used by APP to calculate the extent of 2015’s burned areas, the foresthints.news spatial team also calculated the burned areas in the PT BMH concession based on various bright-resolution satellite data sources.

The results of this revealed that the areas burned in the PT BMH concession are actually approaching an area equivalent in size to Singapore, with reference to the latest satellite data (Nov 24).

On the back of this, foresthints.news asked APP about the extent of the areas burned across its supply chains this year, but has yet to receive a response to this specific question.

PT BMH's haze-causing peat fire problems have not been confined to 2015 and this year. In 2014, it also had to pay a fine to the government due to peat fires in its concession after losing a court battle against Indonesia's forestry authorities.

Based on official data recently submitted by APP to Indonesian forestry authorities, PT BMH supplied more than 53% of the total fiber used by the APP-owned OKI Pulp and Paper Mills, one of the world’s largest mills, as of September this year.