Nusantara Blog

View over area converted to Acacia plantation in land managed by PT Plasma Nuftah Marind Papua, Merauke, Papua. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Greenpeace

Pulp-and-paper Driven deforestation in Indonesia accelerates in 2022

View over area converted to Acacia plantation in land managed by PT Plasma Nuftah Marind Papua, Merauke, Papua. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Greenpeace

Analysis by TheTreeMap, conducted using Sentinel-2 and Planet/NICFI satellite imagery.

The rate of deforestation caused by the production of pulp, a wood product used to make paper, has decreased significantly in Indonesia since reaching its highest point in 2011 (as seen in the white bars in Figure 1).

Despite this positive trend, the pulp and paper industry in Indonesia continues to cause extensive deforestation and exploitation of peatlands.

In 2022, a larger area of primary forest was converted to plantations (acacia and eucalyptus) than the previous year, with 25,887 hectares being cleared in 2022 and 12,320 hectares cleared in 2021 (white bars in Figure 1), indicating a doubling in pulp-driven deforestation and the highest level since 2014.

Figure 1. Expansion of pulp-and-paper plantations by year from 2001 to 2022 in Indonesia with emphasis on forest conversion. White bars represent the pulp-and-paper-driven deforestation or the areas of forest cleared and converted to plantations in the same year. The black bars represent areas of non-forest converted to pul-and-paper plantations. The sum of white and black bars represents the area of plantation added each year. Here, Forest is old-growth, high carbon and high conservation value. ref to Gaveau et al. 2022 for definitions

Surprisingly, fewer peatlands were converted, with 24,000 ha cleared in 2022 compared to 26,111 ha cleared in 2021 (white bars; Figure 2), representing a 8% decline.

Figure 2. Expansion of pulp-and-paper plantations by year from 2001 to 2022 in Indonesia with emphasis on peat conversion. White bars represent the pulp-and-paper-driven peat conversion or the areas of peat cleared and converted to plantations in the same year. The black bars represent areas of non-peat converted to pul-and-paper plantations. The sum of white and black bars represents the area of plantation added each year. The official peatland map from the Ministry of Agriculture was used.

Almost all this pulp-driven deforestation occurred in Kalimantan (25,077 ha were cleared, light bar in left panel; Figure 3).

In Kalimantan, plantations expanded at a record high of 66,032 ha in 2022 (light and dark bars in left panel; Figure 3 or Figure 4).

Figure 3. Expansion of pulp-and-paper plantations by region with emphasis on forest conversion. Y-axis represent areas (in 1000-ha, note different scales) of the total area of plantations added each year by rapidly clearing forests (light bars, below), or by using areas already cleared (dark bars, above).

Peatlands conversion in Kalimantan also increased, with 12,898 ha cleared (Figure 4), a 86 % increase since 2021 (6,937 ha converted).

Figure 4. Expansion of pulp-and-paper plantations by region with emphasis on peat conversion. Y-axis represent areas (in 1000-ha, note different scales) of the total area of plantations added each year by rapidly clearing peat (light bars, below), or by using lands on mineral soils (dark bars, above).

Two companies: Mayawana Persada (Alas Kusuma) and Industrial Forest Plantation (Nusantara Fiber) are responsible for 70% (18,098 ha cleared) of total pulp-driven deforestation recorded in 2022 (25,887 ha). See Tables 1 and 2 at the end of document and interactive map over Mayawana Persada.

Alas Kusuma has Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificates via two logging concessions subsidiaries, PT Sari Bumi Kusuma and PT Suka Jaya Makmur, but destroys orangutan habitat and drains peatlands with deep canals. Among the prominent buyers of Alas Kusuma’s plywood is Itochu Corporation.

Time lapse satellite animation revealing clearing of primary forest in preparation for monoculture acacia planting in Concession Mayawana Persada. Created using Planet/nicfi images. Processed in Nusantara Atlas.

Nusantara Fiber (Industrial Forest Plantation ) has connections to Indonesia’s giant pulp and paper company Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), although RGE have denied any association.

Time-lapse satellite animation revealing clearing of primary forest in preparation for monoculture acacia planting in Concession Industrial Forest Plantation of Nusantara Fiber. Created using Planet/nicfi images. Processed in Nusantara Atlas.

Another FSC-certified company is pulping natural forest in Papua to produce eco-friendly paper.

Time-lapse satellite animation revealing clearing of primary forest in preparation for monoculture acacia planting in Moorim’s concession Plasma Nutfah Marind Papua. Created using Planet/nicfi images. Processed in Nusantara Atlas.

Over the past 22 years, the expanding pulp and paper industry in Indonesia established 3.05 Mha of plantations, the size of Belgium, and converted 1.02 million hectares of forest in the process, destroying animal habitats and biodiversity while turning vast areas of carbon sink swamp forests into fire-prone wastelands.

This deforestation represents 10% of Indonesia’s total loss of old-growth forests (10.19 Mha) recorded over the two decades, including 630,000 ha of ecologically sensitive peat-swamp forest cleared. In addition, the industry drained 1 million hectares of peat swamps for plantations, about one-third of the total Indonesian peat swamp forest destruction of 3.2 million hectares over two decades (2001-2021).

Ship carrying wood logs harvested at a Pulp-and-paper plantation in Kalimantan, Photo by CIFOR

Interactive map

Table 1. The list of companies who developed new plantations at the expense of forest in 2022, ranked from worst to least forest destroyer. This table includes the amount of forest on mineral soils converted and the amount of peat-swamp forest converted.

Company NameGroupConcession Area (Ha)LocationTotal Deforestation
1Mayawana PersadaAlas Kusuma138,809West Kalimantan11,308
2Industrial Forest Plantati0NNusantara Fiber101,416Central Kalimantan6,790
3Jaya Bumi Paser 23,597East Kalimantan1,239
4Sendawar Adhi Karya 24,077East Kalimantan807
5Intraca Hutani Lestari 41,611North Kalimantan535
6Baratama Putra Perkasa 36,038Central Kalimantan440
7Grace Putri Perdana 29,221Central Kalimantan420
8Siemon Agro 10,161Central Kalimantan369
9Hutan Rindang BanuaSinar Mas Group (UFS-DSS)247,618South Kalimantan276
10Fajar Wana Lestari 17,697West Kalimantan251
11Plasma Nuftah Marind PapuaMoorim64,437Papua205
12Taiyoung Engreen 4,678South Sumatera141
13Dharma Hutani MakmurRAPP open market suppliers55,605East Kalimantan138
14Hutan Produksi Lestari 10,029Central Kalimantan130
15Buana Megatama Jaya 43,111West Kalimantan119
16Bakayan Jaya AbadiNusantara Fiber15,083East Kalimantan110
17Selaras Inti SemestaMedco166,751Papua91
18Indosubur Sukses Makmur 28,215East Kalimantan80
19Bukit Raya MudisaRAPP supply partner28,004West Sumatera79
20Sumatera Riang LestariRAPP supply partner49,507Riau64
21Muara Sungai  Landak 11,847West Kalimantan35
22Silva Rimba Lestari 88,717East Kalimantan25
23Wanakerta Ekalestari 26,608West Kalimantan12

Table 2. The list of companies who developed new plantations at the expense of peatlands in 2022, ranked from worst to least peatland destroyer. This table includes the amount of forest and non forest on peat converted.

NoCompany NameGroupConcession Area (Ha)LocationClearing on Peat
1Mayawana PersadaAlas Kusuma138,809West Kalimantan6,762
2Siemon Agro 10,161Central Kalimantan3,656
3Bumi Mekar HijauSinar Mas Forestry Affiliated                         250,272South Sumatera2,520
4Sumatera Riang LestariRAPP supply partner49,507Riau1,089
5Industrial Forest PlantationNusantara Fiber101,416Central Kalimantan1,022
6Tiesico Cahaya Pertiwi 4,678South Sumatera867
7Buana Megatama Jaya 43,111West Kalimantan745
8Bumi Andalas PermaiSinar Mas Forestry Affiliated189,529South Sumatera735
9Sba Wood IndustriesSinar Mas Forestry Affiliated136,612South Sumatera691
10Baratama Putra Perkasa 36,038Central Kalimantan297
11Hutan Ketapang Ind (Dh. Kertas Basuki R) 97,979West Kalimantan136
12Rimba Hutani MasSinar Mas Forestry Affiliated102,261Jambi48

TheTreeMap endeavours to protect tropical forests through scientific research and advanced monitoring platforms. We are cartographers, remote sensing engineers, software developers, and field investigators.  We empower civil society with the tools to detect deforestation in real-time and ensure what happens on the ground is fair, transparent, and democratic. We build systems that check the deforestation footprint of agribusinesses in tropical forests to ensure sustainable production. Our work is based on the premise that no one wants food and other products to be the cause of forest destruction.

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