APP Did Damage Tiger Sanctuary, WWF Maintains
Fidelis E. Satriastanti
Environment group WWF Indonesia defended a report it had co-sanctioned after wood supplier Asia Pulp & Paper accused the organization of releasing fictitious findings related to the preservation of a tiger sanctuary in Sumatra.
In its report, “The Truth Behind APP’s Greenwashing,” a coalition of environmental groups called Eyes on the Forest accused APP of clearcutting tropical forest inside the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary in Sumatra, which APP advertises globally as part of its purported commitment to tiger conservation. The EoF coalition was headed by WWF Indonesia.
APP said the report contained “false allegations regarding the company’s operations.”
“The serious allegations made by EoF about the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary are wrong in every important regard. The government map, which we have released, clearly shows that EoF’s pictures are from a legal pulpwood concession operated by one of our suppliers and not from inside the sanctuary,” APP managing director Aida Greenbury said.
“We have also published pictures of the real Senepis Tiger sanctuary, which show that it has been preserved as dense, natural forest.”
Greenbury called WWF International to distance itself “from this poorly researched and inaccurate report, which does not help anyone who really cares about preserving the natural environment and wildlife of Sumatra.”
Greenbury said APP had been assessed and certified by many of the world’s leading authorities on sustainable forest management.
Aditya Bayunanda of WWF Indonesia said the group had based the research on the map produced by APP when they established the 5,000-hectare sanctuary in 2006.
“[APP] has boasted that the area will be dedicated for a tiger sanctuary but they destroyed it,” he said. “We are sticking to our findings.”
Aditya said the data used in the EoF report was taken from satellite imagery that was verified by observation on the field.
“There is no way it is fabricated,” he said. “From the satellite image, you can clearly see the deforestation in those areas.”
The report also accuses APP of damaging the environment and contributing to the destruction of tiger, elephant and orangutan habitats.