Plantation management is at the heart of APRIL Group’s business and operations, guided by our sustainable approach which focuses on environmental, social and economic development initiatives. Through our plantation management, we conserve high conservation value forests and support local economic development while planting millions of trees annually and harvesting the yield sustainably.
A Sustainable Approach
APRIL Group operates under a Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP). The policy guides the management of 1 million hectares allocated to APRIL Group for forestry under government concession, of which 480,000 hectares is set aside for sustainable plantation. This area includes third and fourth generation renewable plantations, first planted in 1993. The establishment of renewable plantation on this land was completed in 2014. The remaining areas in our concessions are set aside for mandatory protection, community use, infrastructure as well as areas voluntarily set aside for Conservation and Eco-Restoration.
We plant three main species to produce pulp and paper: fast-growing Acacia mangium, Eucalyptus and Acacia crassicarpa as well as hybrid species to cater to customer demands. Natural genetic improvement programmes are implemented to improve the yield of each species and enhance productivity.
APRIL Group employs over 9,000 plantation workers, with the number growing to 13,000 during harvesting periods. Working with our partners, we harvest between 80,000 to 90,000 hectares of plantation forest per year, working within government guidelines inside granted concession area.
These areas are rapidly replanted with over 200 million seedlings per year.
Protecting Conservation Areas
APRIL Group implements a ‘ring plantation’ method as a way to protect conservation forest from encroachment and degradation. Productive Acacia plantations are established on the periphery of our concessions, creating a buffer zone that helps to conserve the interior peat core of raised domes. Plantations deployed in this way make illegal logging and human encroachment less likely.
The plantation ring generates an economic return as well as the resources and employment opportunities to support the livelihood of local communities. The ring plantation approach achieves an important balance between renewable plantation, conservation and local economic development.
The ring plantation approach was developed in response to the challenges posed by unmanaged land, which is prone to encroachment and degradation through illegal logging or fire. This managed approach integrates plantation forest and conservation land as part of holistic landscape management that also includes fire prevention and hydrology management.
Standards Required from Suppliers
APRIL Group sources additional fibre from third party supply partners who are required to comply with APRIL Group’s Sustainable Forest Management Policy. Strict standards are demanded from suppliers, who must be certified and complete regular chain of custody audits to ensure all wood is from legal sources and that they are in compliance and certified.
In addition, we maintain intensive dialogue with supply partners and discuss any supplier issues raised by external stakeholders with the supplier concerned, providing feedback and viewpoints and encouraging actions by supply partners to address any problems identified.
Community and Forestry
The community plays a significant role in plantation management. As well as providing employment opportunities, APRIL Group works with communities to build and support a local business ecosystem of operators and contractors.
The aim is to empower villages through the creation of jobs and business opportunities that can grow sustainably over time. To enable this, APRIL Group provides entrepreneur training and supports specific vocational training and certification programmes for small enterprises.
APRIL Group also works with communities to foster and support Livelihood and HTR or Hutan Tanaman Rakyat plantation areas.
HTR refers to land set aside by government to alleviate poverty. Since 1996, APRIL Group has cooperated with local communities to build capability and foster the sustainable productivity of these areas. As well as this, APRIL Group also sets aside land from its concession for livelihood plantation. Livelihood plantation is used for a mix of rubber and Acacia tree plantation, with APRIL Group providing hands-on support to ensure it’s productive management, as well as vocational training and resources.
Find more on plantation management in our Sustainability Report .