APRIL Shares Advances in Forestry Science at IUFRO World Congress 2024

2030. Achieving these ambitious targets will only be possible with our significant investment in research.

APRIL’s Research team, a unique force of nearly 280 individuals, is based at our operations in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau Province. With nine PhDs and 21 Master’s degrees, this team conducts research in fields such as tissue culture, biological control, drone-mounted sensing and plant genetics. This is further supported by a dedicated 28 strong Peatland Science team, which includes three PhDs and seven at Masters level. This team has successfully conducted research on greenhouse gases, tropical peatlands and other related tropical forestry issues.

Over the last decade, the team has published around 100 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and regularly attends scientific and industry events to engage with global peers and share knowledge and insights. APRIL continues to benchmark our research against industry best practice and collaborate with research partners across the world.

Last week, three of APRIL’s researchers, Dr. Gustavo Martins, Kirti Bajpai M.Sc. and Dr. Chandra Deshmukh presented their findings at the International Union of Forest Research Organization (IUFRO) World Congress in Stockholm, the premier international conference for forestry. Presenting at scientific conferences allows our science to be reviewed and discussed with global experts while also giving the team an opportunity to meet with and hear from other important scientific work.

Dr. Gustavo Martins, Program Leader, Tree Improvement, is an expert in plant genetics and his team works on developing varieties of our plantation trees that can better cope with environmental stress from the climate or pests.

He presented a study that involved mapping the genetic characteristics of nearly 84,000 Acacia crassicarpa seedlings and then investigating how these DNA markers are correlated with the growth of the adult trees, including traits such as the density of the wood and other tree growth characteristics like straightness. The study demonstrates of the potential of genetic mapping is in enabling us to select the most productive trees for planting in the field.

Kirti Bajpai M.Sc., Geographic Information Systems analyst, carries out research to understand how features of the landscape impact on successful plantation growth. At the IUFRO conference, she presented a comprehensive study on the physical and chemical properties of soil and site, such as clay content, organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and slope, in one of APRIL’s eucalyptus plantations.

The team investigated how trees with a different genetic makeup fared in that soil. The team have showed the potential to predict how well different genetic varieties will grow based on soil characteristics. This is vitally important information for improving productivity because making a poor match between tree genetics and planting site can take years to become apparent through slow growth. It is much better to determine the right trees for the right locations from the start.

Dr. Chandra Deshmukh presented a study conducted between 2016 to 2022 that measured greenhouse gas exchange on tropical peatlands between the atmosphere and three particular sites: intact forest ecosystems, degraded peatland swamp forest and APRIL’s acacia plantations on peatland. The results are vital for understanding and mitigating the climate impact of APRIL’s operations and have relevance far beyond the company for calculating Indonesia’s overall carbon emissions from land use changes. Read the Dr Deshmukh’s paper published in the scientific journal, Nature.

Our presence at the IUFRO World Congress is a reminder that APRIL is capable of producing world-class science. Our Research teams represent some of the best in the business and this research has important implications for plantation productivity, allowing for higher levels of production per hectare of land, while reducing our impact on the natural environment. It is also a reminder that scientific research is a community endeavour that relies on partnerships, critical review and contributions of peers with other experts around the globe. Events like the IUFRO World Congress and the continued investment in Research ensure that APRIL is at the cutting edge of the scientific discussions as we advance the resilience and sustainability of our operations.

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