PALM OIL NEWS
August 20, 2019
Field evidence verifies Astra’s forest conservation efforts
JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - A ground-based observation by the foresthints.news team has found that areas of remaining forest cover, both good and not good, in a palm oil concession (PT TPP) owned by Indonesia’s second largest palm oil producer Astra Agro Lestari are being conserved.
This palm oil concession lies in a landscape on the west coast of Aceh inhabited by the critically-endangered Sumatran elephant and tiger.
As previously reported by foresthints.news (Jul 22), Astra has decided not to develop around 70% of the palm oil concession in question, covering an area larger than Brussels, instead allocating it for forest conservation.
This news report forms part of an ongoing commitment from foresthints.news to shed light on the best practices of palm oil and forestry companies which are protecting high carbon stock (HCS) forests as well as the habitat of key wildlife in their concessions.
“The company’s decision to conserve remaining areas of good forest cover in the PT TPP concession is final,” stressed Astra Agro Lestari’s Vice President of Sustainability Bandung Sahari when asked by foresthints.news in the concession (Aug 15).
“Astra will also not develop remaining areas of good forest cover, as well as areas not consisting of good forest cover, in the PT TPP concession for new palm oil plantations,” Sahari added.
Evidence uncovered during the ground check (Aug 15) proves that around 40% of the areas of good forest cover still standing in the PT TPP concession are being conserved, as shown in the following photos.
The preservation of these areas of remaining good forest cover, spanning the equivalent of almost two thousand football fields, is significant considering that they are in a landscape which plays host to the Sumatran tiger and elephant.
Restoration effort planned
Astra reiterated that areas not composed of good forest cover, which account for more than 30% of the concession’s area, are also not being developed to make way for new palm oil plantations.
During its visit to the PT TPP concession, the foresthints.news team documented these areas not comprising good forest cover, as depicted in the photos below.
As reported earlier by foresthints.news (Jul 25), global environmental campaign organization Mighty Earth appreciates the forest conservation efforts being undertaken by the Astra company, while also asking that the significant areas not made up of good forest cover in the PT TPP concession be restored.
“We have a plan to restore those areas which don’t consist of good forest cover. This will be implemented gradually,” said Sahari who is responsible for sustainability in the Astra palm oil business group.
He also pointed out that Astra is currently focusing on first tackling the crucial problem of conflict between elephants and local communities in the vicinity of the PT TPP concession, by collaborating with relevant local stakeholders.
“Moreover, Astra is also striving to prevent any encroachment into the PT TPP concession, whether in areas of good or not good forest cover,” Sahari explained.