APP on Sumatra, Indonesia


APP was founded in 1984 and is the largest pulp and paper producer in Indonesia, mainly for export. It has a pulp mill in Sumatra (Indah Kiat mill) that has a capacity of 2 million tons per year. Italy is the largest European importer of Indonesian paper (2009). WWF calculated that timber concessions of April included 570,000 ha of forest. It has several expansion plans, now one is on South Sumatra with acacia plantations for new pulp mill project (PT Oki Pulp Paper), involving wetlands area with peasant communities depending on production of rice and vegetables, with the potential of provoking more conflicts. APP on Sumatra has been long story of conflicts with communities; it has been reported that about 60,000 ha of lands occupied by APP is being claimed by communities, and the company continues nevertheless expanding. Main impacts reported have been - Violation land rights of local communities; Destruction territory and livelihoods of indigenous peoples; - Destruction biodiversity (forests and peat forests), about 1 million hectares since the beginning of its operations; Destruction peat forests would have led to release of up to 300 tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

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Basic Data
NameAPP on Sumatra, Indonesia
SiteSumatra, including Riau province and South Sumatra
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)500000: at least
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population:thousands of people
Start Date1980
Company Names or State EnterprisesAsian Pulp and Paper (APP) from Indonesia - it is controlled by the Sinar Mas Group, one of Indonesia’s major conglomerates, also involved in oil palm.
Sinar Mas Group (SMART) from Indonesia
Relevant government actorsIndonesian gvt. At several levels involved in concession policy for plantations companies
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCAPPA, Walhi and others
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Over the years, people have setting up road blockades, charging “tolls” for use of community roads, and seizing company vehicles and equipment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Company still expanding and many conflicts unsolved
Sources and Materials

WRM bulletin 163/2011 – APP and Cartiere Pigna try to intimidate social denounces in Italy of deforestation in Indonesia; WALHI, 2008. Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI), 2008. Aerial bombardment of peasants in Sumatran village. Press release. Berlin,
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Meta Information
ContributorWinnie Overbeek
Last update08/04/2014