Forest Management Overseas

The Sumitomo Forestry Group is expanding three approaches to conducting plantation forest operations; industrial tree plantation, environmental reforestation, and “social forestry”. The purpose of industrial tree plantation is to produce wood and increase the supply of plantation timber (raw material). By zoning its managed land appropriately, the Group aims to achieve both the conservation of valuable ecosystems and the development of local communities through plantation forest operations.

In addition, the Group also conducts environmental reforestation, aimed at planting trees for the environmental conservation. It aims to contribute to environmental conservation through the expansion of forested areas and the fulfillment of the ecosystem services function of forests, by actively planting trees on land where natural regeneration would otherwise be difficult. The Group has also been engaged in “social forestry” which shares the economic benefits of forest plantation with local communities while enlisting the cooperation of local residents.

Plantation Forest Operations in West Kalimantan, Indonesia (Industrial tree Plantation)

Since 2010, under the license from Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry permitting utilization of timber from commercial forests*, Sumitomo Forestry has been committed to a large-scale forest plantation business conducted in cooperation with the ALAS Kusuma Group, a company involved in forestry management and plywood manufacturing in Indonesia. The project covers areas in which forest degradation has advanced due to commercial harvesting from the 1960s to the mid 1990s in addition to repeated illegal logging and slash-and-burn farming practices. In these types of lands, Sumitomo Forestry Group actively uses devastated forests where productivity is not expected as plantation forests while taking on the responsibility of preserving forests with high conservation value. In addition, we believe it is important to prevent further degradation of forests by providing an economic infrastructure to local communities through businesses.

The Group aims to plant trees with appropriate management for each piece of land with consideration to different environmental factors such as topography and soil conditions in its plantation forest operations. Furthermore, we conduct research and monitoring based on the latest knowledge from third parties to continually improve our operations. The planting, cultivation and harvesting work done by human hands largely contributes to local communities by creating jobs.

* Issued by the Indonesian government, this is a business license to engage in industrial tree plantation operations in Indonesia. The license is valid for 60 to 100 years.

2012
  • Signed a contract with International Finance Corporation (IFC)—member of the World Bank Group for the provision of advisory services. In accordance with the concept of High Conservation Values Forests (HCVF)* that draws great attention in recent years, Sumitomo Forestry conducted assessments on its operational properties with IFC and investigated whether the property use plan is implemented as stated and adequate consideration is made for biodiversity and livelihood of local residents. The reports of the investigation results were audited by a third-party organization, and valuable comments made by stakeholders on the report will be adapted in the business plan.
2013
  • Held public hearings where stakeholders such as local residents, companies in the communities, academics, NGOs, and government officers were invited to share the results of the investigations.
  • Obtained the PHPL certification, formally called Sertifikat Pengelolaan Hutan Produksi Lestari issued by Ministry of Forestry (Departemen Kehutanan) on sustainable forest management.
2015
  • Held public hearings with stakeholders prior to plantation forest harvest with the aim of deepening stakeholders’ understanding about our businesses and consideration to environment and social issues that we promote. This venue also actively pursued cooperation from our stakeholders to prevent forest fires. Participants not only shared a lot of positive feedback but also gave us comments fruitful in the formulation of our business plans.
2016
  • Advanced efforts with the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry to build a model for sustainable plantation forest operations and peat management methods in peatlands through our businesses and research activities.
  • The Commissioner of Peat Land Recovery visited the local grounds to observe the peat management technology. Gained high praise for groundwater level control technology and the newest initiatives founded in data as well as introduced both in an international venue for government officials as beneficial examples for Indonesia.
2017
  • Entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesian for a pilot project that aims to examine unique water level management technologies to sustainably manage peatlands and establish peatland management models in Indonesia. The term of this project is set for five years. The project is being conducted with the cooperation of the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry as well as the Peatland Restoration Agency.
  • The peatland management technology from this project was introduced as an excellent example, leading-edge peat management at the November 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) held in Bonn, Germany.

* HCVF outlines methods to objectively extract each and every multifaceted values of forests beyond the value as absorbers of greenhouse gases, encompassing the value as habitats of rare, endangered animal species, the value as water sources, the value as providers of essential natural services such as prevention of soil erosion, and the land that has an intimate relationship with the lifestyle and culture of local communities.

 

Conservation of Peat Swamp Forests

Conventionally, reforestation in peatlands* pushed water out of the soil and dried the land by digging many drainage routes for planting. However, drying-out land results in the decomposition of organic matter in the peat soil and acts to heighten global warming due to the emission of greenhouse gases. Dried peat, once ignited, is very difficult to extinguish, creating the risk of large-scale forest fires. The soil needs to always be in a damp state to prevent fires, but this means maintaining a constant groundwater level throughout the year through proper water level management is extremely vital. Therefore, in drawing up a forestation plan, the Sumitomo Forestry conducts detailed measurements and surveys based on which the following areas are identified: (1) forests to be protected with riparian forest and high rarity value, (2) areas to set as buffer zones between protection zones and plantation zones, and finally (3) areas the final determination as plantation zones. In plantation zones, water routes that function as round log transport, water level control, and fire belts are constructed while allowing a constant water level in the peatlands to always be maintained without affecting the rivers by not directly connecting the water routes and the rivers. Maintaining a constant groundwater level not only prevents forest fires and minimizes the breakdown of peats but also limits the emission of greenhouse gases. These results have been announced at relevant government agencies, universities and other institutes and some aspects have even been adopted as new policy measures. In addition, we are also striving to popularize techniques with a low environmental impact by actively releasing technical overviews. The technology we have developed also has the potential to be utilized in reforestation of areas devastated by large-scale fires.

* Characteristics of the peat soil found in the peat swamps is known to emit enormous amounts of greenhouse gases, typically carbon dioxide and methane gas, if the soil was inappropriately exploited. Owing to joint researches by Japanese and Indonesian academic institutes, this project takes consideration to minimize greenhouse gas emissions that accrue as the peaty soil dissolves during exploitations.

Land for plantation forest operations designed based on detailed data

Land for plantation forest operations designed based on detailed data

Monitoring the water level in peatlands

Monitoring the water level in peatlands

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Forest Management Consulting Business Overseas

Corporate needs for forest management are diverse. In recent years, there has been a considerable number of companies conducting forest conservation activities and planting activities in developing countries, for the purpose of mitigating the impact on forests in overseas countries and regions where they are doing business, or for the purpose of fulfilling their corporate social responsibility.

Drawing on its knowledge of forest management in Japan and overseas, Sumitomo Forestry implements its consulting business for restoration of degraded forests in tropical regions, the rehabilitation of biodiversity, and for the protection and cultivation of forests that takes into account local communities.

The Company plans to enhance the value of existing projects in cooperation with local governments and relevant organizations, and to promote the proposal of new mechanisms such as REDD+ as well as ongoing projects that contribute to local economies through forest management and agricultural production.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd.'s Project for the Rehabilitation and Regeneration of the Paliyan Wildlife Sanctuary
(environmental reforestation / social forestry)

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd. has been involved in efforts for restoring the devastated forests in the Paliyan Wildlife Sanctuary (Gunung Kidul Regency in the Special Region of Yogyakarta) in Indonesia since 2005. Sumitomo Forestry has provided associated consulting services.

During the first phase of activities to March 2011, around 300,000 trees were planted on 350 hectares of land. As second phase of activities since April 2011, with a goal of creating a framework for local people to voluntarily protect their abundant forest areas, Sumitomo Forestry has been providing support for an agricultural guidance program aimed at improving the livelihoods of local residents, the establishment of an inclusive organization to examine ways of managing protected forests, and an environmental education program in cooperation with local schools. As third phase of activities since April 2016, we have been supporting additional planting in areas with few trees in protected forests as well as social forestry through local communities around protected forests.

As part of this project, the Company has also opened the doors to its plantation forests, seminar house and other related facilities in a positive effort to make information on its experiences and know-how on forest restoration available to the public. These have been well attended by local elementary and middle school students, by Indonesian and foreign university students and experts in such fields as forestry, the environment and education, as well as by many government officials.

Monitoring Social Reforestation

Monitoring Social Reforestation

Technical support (citizen participation type reforestation) consulting services related to Indonesian Forestry Conservation Plans through environment programs for free capital assistance (environmental reforestation / social forestry)

The Japan International Cooperation System is working in citizen participation type reforestation in Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park in Indonesia (East Nusa Tenggara), Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (East Java) and Ujung Kulon National Park (West Java) over five years starting in 2015. Sumitomo Forestry has been involved as a consultant in these activities. Reforestation was conducted in 2015 and fiscal 2016. In fiscal 2017, Sumitomo Forestry implemented fire prevention measures through maintenance such as cutting grass, patrols, and environmental education for citizens. The purpose of these operations is to teach forest management to the citizens for when they take over the forests via planting activities done together with the local citizens in each region.

Seedlings Planted in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

Seedlings Planted in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

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