APP China

Posted: 16 May 2007 in


By Liu Bing, Greenpeace China.

(May 2007): Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is the one of the world’s largest pulp and paper companies and is infamous for its forest crimes. Vast tracts of ancient forests in Indonesia lay at their mercy, and more recently the company has started to encroach on natural forests in southern China as well.

APP’s first venture in China was in Hainan Province. APP’s interest in Hainan province started in 1995 when it established Sinar Mas Hainan Pulp and Forestry Ltd (SMHP). In 1997, APP created a joint venture called Hainan Jinhua Forestry Ltd (JFL), a company whose aim was to establish a 200,000 hectare tree plantation, approved by State Council. The intention was to plant enough eucalyptus as raw material to supply a planned pulp mill.[1]

Since 1997, natural forest in Hainan has suffered from APP’s different kinds of forest destruction. For example, local people living around Wuzhishan Natural Reserve have confirmed that during last two years, APP clearcut several hundred hectares of good forest inside the Reserve and replaced the forest with monoculture eucalyptus plantations.[2] According to Chinese Forest Law, clearcutting and changing the use of natural forest in Natural Reserve is prohibited.

According to The Beijing News,[3] one manager of APP plantations said that, in areas of Wuzhishan Mountain of Wuzhishan City, Limushan Mountain of Qiongzhong County and Bawangling Mountain of Changjiang County, the natural forest has been badly damaged since 1999. Working mainly during May and June, APP converted more than 650 hectares of forest to plantations each year.

Today, APP continues to destroy natural forest in this region. A governor of Qiongzhong County said that the local county government had tried to stop them when APP’s Hainan Jinhua Forestry was destroying the forest in this county, but the company never listened to them.[4]

Behind the forest destruction in Hainan, we can see APP’s presence. For several years, APP’s conversion of natural forest to plantation has increased the pressure on forests in Hainan. But now, APP’s Jinhai Pulp Mill makes the situation much worse.

On 28 March 2005, APP started production at its massive new pulp mill: Hainan Jinhai Pulp Co. Ltd. With a capacity of over one million tonnes a year and a cost of US$1.3 billion, it is the largest pulp mill in China.

Assuming a growth rate of 18 cubic metres per hectare a year, a plantation area of 288,000 hectares is required to produce enough raw material to feed a one million tonnes a year pulp mill. In order to have sufficient raw material from its plantations, therefore, APP should have completed all its plantations and have sufficient area mature and ready for harvesting before starting up the pulp mill.

In terms of the original plan agreed between APP and the Hainan Authorities, about 40,000 hectares eucalyptus plantation should be established each year. However, between 1997 and 2005, a total area of only about 65,000 hectares of plantations has been established – significantly less than the original target. A more serious problem, pointed out by experts who know the true situation in APP’s plantations, is that of this total area, only about 6,600 hectares are available for logging due to improper management and the restriction of logging quotas. In addition, the timber yield per hectare is lower than expected.[5]

Because of the huge amount of raw material needed to run the mill, when APP’s Hainan Jinhai Pulp Mill started production APP had to buy a large amount of timber in Hainan. APP set up offices in many cities and big towns to buy timber. APP stated that it would only buy timbers from plantations and refuse those from ancient forest and natural forest. But in fact, APP also bought large amounts of timber from natural forest in Hainan.

This is not a surprise. A 1999 report on the APP Hainan Jinhai Pulp Project by Shanghai Light Industry Academy, stated that “Raw materials for production need to be purchased from the present natural forest in Hainan and other regions.”[6]

By 2003, according to a report by the Chinese State Forestry Administration, the remaining natural forest in Hainan had dropped to 0.57 million hectares by 2003, a reduction of more than 66,000 hectares compared to the forest area two years previously.[7] There can be no doubt that APP has contributed to the decrease in forest area. If the damage caused by APP are not stopped quickly, we cannot see any future for Hainan’s natural forest. Over the coming years, the forest – which is one of the largest natural forest areas in China – will disappear to be replaced by plantations.

APP recently signed a contract with the Yunnan Provincial Government to buy the Yunjing Lizhi Group pulp mill in Yunnan and enlarge the annual capacity of pulp production to 300,000 tonnes. Once this plan implemented, this new mill will increase greatly the pressure on the natural forest around it.




[1] The eco-province development plan of Hainan, 8th People Congress Meeting of Hainan Government, 30th July,1999

[2] Logging site, longitude 109°14’35” east, latitude 18°59’30” north.

[3] The Beijing News Zhu Yonghong.

[4] Interview with Huang Zhaoliang, the subprefect of Qiongzhong Country.

[5] Interview with official at Hainan Forest Bureau, Liu Futang.

[6] Report of APP Hainan Pulp Project, Shanghai Light Industry Academy, 1999.

[7] From a recent internal report of Hainan Forestry Bureau.

Further reading

Greenpeace China


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