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Carbon Conservation and APP convert Indonesian pulpwood plantation to carbon reserve in REDD-plus initiative

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Carbon Conservation and APP convert Indonesian pulpwood plantation to carbon reserve in REDD-plus initiative

October 03, 2010 - 17:00
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JAKARTA, Indonesia, Oct. 3, 2010 (Business Wire) -Indonesia will become home of the world's first privately funded project turning pulpwood plantation concessions into a carbon reserve. The Kampar Carbon Reserve, located in Riau Province in Sumatra, is being established on land previously approved for pulpwood plantation in a unique public-private partnership announced in Jakarta today.

Creation of the Kampar Carbon Reserve is being led by the green entrepreneur firm Carbon Conservation in partnership with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). The pair worked with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, land concession holder PT. Putra Riau Perkasa (PRP), and local stakeholders to re-allocate more than 15,000 hectares of deep peat carbon sink from concessions allocated for pulpwood plantation to conservation land in an effort to open the door to this world-first pilot project.

Kampar Carbon Reserve has been subjected to multiple assessments which convinced APP that this is a unique area in the Semenanjung Kampar peat dome that needs to be conserved. Currently for at least the next 30 years the bio-diverse rich peat dome of Kampar Carbon Reserve is expected to preserve significant amounts of carbon. Carbon stock assessments conducted in the coming months will confirm the amount.

The project is designed to use the sale of REDD-Plus credits to inject millions of dollars into local job creation and community development programs in the indigenous communities surrounding the land over the lifespan of the preservation program. The community development programs will help reduce the pressures exerted on the forest from the local communities, while still allowing local residents to improve their livelihoods and to prosper.

"Working with APP we are giving new life to a carbon-rich piece of land that is roughly a quarter the size of Singapore that we are now conserving as a protected carbon plantation," said Dorjee Sun, CEO of Carbon Conservation, co-headquartered in Australia and Singapore. "This is the first real attempt by a pulpwood producer to measure the difference in carbon conservation of what would have happened in its existing state, what would happen in a pulpwood plantation scenario and what will happen after preservation."

"The Kampar Carbon Reserve is a gift from Indonesia to the world. We are working with the Ministry of Forestry, PRP and other concerned stakeholders to create a pilot program that helps tackle the global climate change challenge. At the same time we are creating real community investment programs directed at the true root of Indonesia's environmental issues: poverty in the indigenous communities surrounding the rainforests," said Aida Greenbury, sustainability managing director for APP.

Carbon Conservation will lead the effort to independently measure the CO2 footprint and build a conservation model that will determine the true annual output of the new reserve. The group will also lead the effort to bring in independent investors to purchase and market REDD-Plus credits that will generate the revenue to support the program.

APP and PRP will lead the forestry and community development aspect of the program, working with government authorities to help protect the land from anything that could hamper the carbon preserved and establish programs in the surrounding Riau province to create jobs and community investment programs to help protect the area.

Independent auditors will conduct annual reviews to validate preservation activities and ensure accuracy of carbon preservation measurements.

"Innovation in environmental development has to be closely connected to economic development to make a real impact. The current plan is to protect this land for at least the next 30 years, but just as important is that it will be a highly productive contributor to local community development and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions," said Sun.

"APP's goal is to protect large landscape forests that have high conservation value and critical peat land. We put all land through rigorous scientific assessments to help us determine the most appropriate use. We used this same approach as we developed our partnerships supporting the Biosphere Reserve in the Giam Siak Kecil, Senepis Sumatran Tiger Sanctuary in Riau Province, Taman Raja Nature Reserve in Jambi Province and Kutai Orangutan Program in Kalimantan," Ms. Greenbury said.

Kampar Carbon Reserve will develop in three phases. Phase one will take three to six months to do a complete assessment of the land, soil analysis and community needs, issues and challenges. Phase two, which could take approximately one year to complete, will involve independent auditors validating the carbon preservation model and securing third-party investment. Phase three will extend through the life of the project and will include activities to both protect and improve the land as well as annual third-party verification and certification.