The forests of Bukit Tigapuluh are a last refuge for tigers
Jambi: Bukit Tigapuluh is critical tiger habitat.
Sumatran tigers are on the brink of extinction, in part due to loss of forest habitat. There are estimated to be about 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild; around 30 tigers are estimated to live within the Bukit Tigapuluh Forest Landscape. So critical is the area for the survival of tigers in the wild, it has been designated one of twenty Global Priority Tiger Conservation Landscapes.
The tigers share this habitat with more than 150 Sumatran elephants and 130 Sumatran orang-utans that have been reintroduced into the wild. The Landscape is also home to communities from two indigenous forest peoples: the Orang Rimba and the Talang Mamak.
Less than one third of the Landscape has been designated by the government as a national park. The national park principally encompasses the less accessible upland area. By contrast, elephants, tigers and other wildlife are generally found in the lowland forest outside the national park. For example, in May 2011, WWF released video imagery from camera traps that showed 12 tigers including cubs in areas outside the national park boundaries. Lowland forest outside the park was identified as excellent habitat for the reintroduction of Sumatran orang-utans to the wild, a programme that began in 2002.
However, the government has zoned much of this lowland forest for clearance for industrial plantations such as pulpwood. As a result, companies including SMG/APP continue to target and actively clear some of Sumatra’s most important forest for the survival of critically endangered wildlife.
Furthermore, since 2007, SMG/APP has developed a logging road through these forest areas to allow for the transport of logs from its concession areas to its pulp mills. The road runs from northwest to southeast, directly adjacent to the boundary of the national park.
Wildlife poaching in the area surrounding the park has increased considerably since SMG/APP's logging road opened up access to the region, according to data collated by a coalition including the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS). In some places, the logging road passes within a few kilometres of the park boundary, and the coalition has documented several poaching instances in the immediate vicinity of the park.
APP is pulping wildlife habitat
Jambi, 2010: Logging truck on a road developed to transport logs to APP's pulp mills.
Confidential 2007 SMG/APP documents obtained by Greenpeace show that the group was targeting ten forested areas for expansion within the Bukit Tigapuluh Forest Landscape, adjacent to the National Park.
By 2011, SMG/APP suppliers owned or had preliminary licenses for at least four pulpwood concessions.
According to Greenpeace mapping analysis, between 2007 and 2011 SMG/APP has added 69,500 hectares inside the Bukit Tigapuluh Forest Landscape to its pulpwood supply areas. Two thirds of the area was forested in 2006.
Greenpeace investigations document the extensive loss of rainforest and plantation establishment post-2006 within recently acquired SMG/APP concessions in the northwestern reaches of the Bukit Tigupuluh Forest Landscape.
In July 2010, Greenpeace released documentary evidence of active clearing in the northwestern section of the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape by SMG/APP supplier PT Artelindo Wiratama. The concession had been identified by SMG/APP as a target for expansion in the 2007 internal document, and field investigations documented that logs were being transported to APP’s Indah Kiat mill in Riau. The concession was listed by official government documents as a pulpwood supplier to Indah Kiat in 2009. In August 2010, Greenpeace aerial monitoring documented ongoing clearance within PT Artelindo Wiratama.
The nearby concession of PT Tebo Multiagro is another SMG/APP supplier. In 2006, more than two thirds of the area was forested, according to Ministry of Forestry data. In August 2010, Greenpeace aerial monitoring shows extensive areas of recently established plantations, as well as ongoing clearance in the western areas of the concession.
Greenpeace investigations expose how APP is targeting wildlife habitat
Riau, 2009: A Sumatran orangutan at a reserve where they are prepared for release into the wild.
© Will Rose / Greenpeace
Confidential 2007 SMG/APP documents obtained by Greenpeace show areas targeted by the group for expansion that lie adjacent to the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park.
These include the 31,000 hectare former PT Dalek Hutani Esa selective logging concession, where – with support from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry – FZS established a field station in 2002 and began a programme to reintroduce Sumatran orang-utans to the wild. The lowland forest was identified as suitable habitat, giving reintroduced orang-utans the best possible opportunity to thrive and breed, establishing new family groups. In 2010, a coalition of conservation organisations including FZS also mapped the presence of other endangered wildlife in the area, including tigers, elephants and tapirs.
According to Ministry of Forestry documents, by 2009 PT Rimba Hutani Mas – an SMG/APP supplier – had obtained a preliminary access license for pulpwood expansion in the area of the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape. The former PT Dalek Hutani Esa selective logging concession identified in a confidential 2007 company document was one of the areas targeted. A Ministry of Forestry map shows that as of 2011 this concession area is now fully licensed for the development of pulpwood.
Jambi, 2009: An Orang Rimba woman in an SMG/APP plantation area.
© Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace
Mapping analysis by Greenpeace shows that in 2006 about half the concession was forested tiger habitat. The forest within the concession area overlaps a region identified in 2009 and 2010 as supporting two indigenous hunter-gatherer populations, the Orang Rimba and Talang Mamak peoples.
In August 2010, Greenpeace aerial monitoring documented rainforest remaining within the PT Rimba Hutani Mas concession in the area near the FZS field station between the logging road and the National Park.