On new projects, well-marked conservation areas are set aside in areas designated as having ‘high conservation value’ status. Ongoing programmes of planting jungle trees and other plants are undertaken. Areas alongside river banks are set aside as conservation areas both to prevent leaching of fertilisers into water courses and to provide wildlife corridors.
The Group has more than 2,000 hectares of conservation areas, which are regularly monitored by sustainability teams resident on its estates. It has a ‘zero waste’ approach.
New planting procedure ('NPP') documents have been routinely lodged with the RSPO Secretariat in a timely manner and are available on the RSPO website. All new plantings carried out since the beginning of 2015 have been covered by a high conservation value ("HCV") and high carbon stock ("HCS") assessment.
In respect of agronomic management, leguminous cover crops are planted to fix nitrogen in the soil, prevent erosion and provide nutritious leaf litter. In areas with slopes above 12%, contour terraces are dug. This prevents soil erosion and retains water for palms on the terraces. Slopes of more than 25% are not planted.
The Group uses integrated pest management to control pests on its plantations. Beneficial host plants are planted alongside estate roads to attract predators (insects) of leaf pests. The predators feed on leaf pest larvae thus reducing the need for chemical spraying. Where possible, barn owls are bred and introduced to control rats, minimising the need for chemical baits. The Group bans hunting in all its estates and conservation areas.
The Group has set out clearly marked conservation areas, with prominent signboards giving specific details of the high conservation value ("HCV") area and warning that unauthorised access is prohibited. The Group patrols its conservation areas daily and uses camera traps to monitor wild animals and carries out biodiversity surveys. It also conducts training with its own workers and amongst local villages to raise awareness of the importance of HCV areas to local communities. The Group already uses satellite imagery to monitor its HCV areas annually, and in 2019 the Group will pilot the use of drones to help protect its conservation areas from encroachment.
The Group has supported and accommodated plantation inspections from the Borneo Orang Utan Survival Foundation and Sainsbury's.