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Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) and its subsidiary PT SMART, supported by TFT and Greenpeace, have reached a significant milestone with the publication of a report detailing the methodology and findings from their High Carbon Stock (HSC) forest fieldwork.

The report offers the first practical, scientifically robust and cost effective methodology for defining and identifying areas of HCS for conservation. GAR now intends to test this approach through consultation with the government, local communities, industry experts and other relevant stakeholders to explore how it can be deployed more widely as a credible way of protecting high carbon stock forests.

Working closely with TFT, GAR launched its Forest Conservation Policy (FCP) on 9th February 2011. The FCP focuses on no development on HCS forests, High Conservation Value (HCV) forest areas and peat lands; free, prior and informed consent from indigenous and local communities; and compliance with all relevant laws and internationally accepted certification principles and criteria.

Since the launch of the FCP, GAR, SMART, TFT and Greenpeace have been working together to clearly define and identify areas of HCS for conservation. Under this study, fieldwork was conducted and measured across 431 plots in four of GAR's concessions in Central and West Kalimantan.

The study categorised areas into different strata based on measurements of carbon in the above ground biomass. The study found that six strata could be identified, correlating with different average carbon stocks.

These findings are being released in conjunction with an Indonesian Government workshop (on 5th June, 2012) designed to explore how to fulfil the Indonesian President’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 26% by 2020. Following this workshop, GAR and its partners will hold wider discussions with representatives from the Government of Indonesia, civil society organisations, local and indigenous communities, key growers and other stakeholders in the Indonesian palm oil industry, to gather feedback on the study and the outcomes.

With this feedback, GAR intends to develop action plans for how it will use this methodology to deliver its FCP. Daud Dharsono, President Director of SMART, said: “The HCS methodology moves us closer to ensuring no deforestation footprint in our operations. However, we cannot do this alone and it is vital that all stakeholders work together to support this effort.”

As a recent study conducted by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental NGO, has shown, GAR and SMART have already made concrete progress in delivering on the FCP.

Read the HSC Forest Study Report here.

Read GAR’s Forest Conservation Policy here.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut