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RIL Criteria and Indicators

TFF has developed a generic definition of RIL for the purpose of defining and standardizing the concept of RIL to all of it’s programs in the tropical regions of the world. This definition complete with generic criteria and indicators is now available the document, “Tropical Forest Foundation Standard for Reduced Impact Logging” formally published in June 2007.

The TFF Standard for RIL also describes a protocol for participation in TFF’s Forest-Market Linking Program as well as the use of the two product labels which TFF is now offering.

Since each country’s situation is completely different in terms of the forest condition, geography, soils, operating environment, and forest laws and regulation, the generic Criteria & Indicators have to be adapted to the country-specific situation.

In the Indonesia program, TFF has developed and field tested a comprehensive set of Criteria & Indicators which provide definition and implementation guidance for forest practitioners wishing to implement RIL. TFF now promotes the use of these Criteria & Indicators in the following ways:

  1. To conduct base line assessments of a forest concession’s current activities in order to assess gaps against a well defined standard.
  2. To guide the development of action plans for training activities in RIL.
  3. To conduct periodic monitoring of progress in implementing RIL.
  4. As a standard against which a forest concession can be audit by a third party.

Since threshold levels and outcome parameters are difficult to define objectively, many of the Criteria & Indicators contain proxy indicators which represent required activities to achieve the desired outcome.

A scoring and weighting system has been develop to provide a certain degree of objectivity and consistency in evaluating performance against the Criteria & Indicators.

This localized definition of RIL is referred to as the “RIL Performance Table for Indonesia”.

Principle Criterion Indicator
V e r i f i e r
Reduced-Impact Logging is being implemented as prescribed in the TFF – “RIL Verified”
  1. A pre-harvesting, operational inventory has been conducted which identifies all trees to be harvested and trees to be protected according to the standards set in the Indonesian TPTI (Tebang Pilih Tanaman Indonesia / selective cutting and planting system) or TPTJ (Tebang Pilih Tanaman Jalur / Selective line cutting and planting system) silvicultural and administrative systems.
    1.1 Field visits verify that the inventory has been conducted and that trees are labeled and numbered according to regulatory requirements.
      1.1.1 Spot checks should be conducted periodically in multiple locations.
  Auditor to insert observations and comments here.
    1.2 The Company has written standards for its cruising activities including a clearly stated policy, on which trees are suitable for inclusion in the inventory (see audit notes below).
    1.3 Cruising summaries (LHP) are available for the entire area to be harvested.
    1.4 Document check should verify that species protected by Indonesian law and CITES protocol are not included in the list of species proposed for harvesting.
Audit Notes A 100% inventory is mandatory for Indonesian forest concessions. Requirements and procedures for such an inventory is well documented by the Ministry of Forests (MoF) and available to all companies. MoF regulations detail the inventory, marking, mapping, and reporting procedures for commercial, protected, and future crop trees.

The regulation (SK) on minimum stocking standards for concession license and RKT renewal is not considered legitimate for RIL audit purposes as it is counterproductive to the goals of RIL and contains completely unimplementable expectations.
  2. Operational scale contour and tree position maps of adequate accuracy, are available for the entire area to be harvested annually.
    2.1 The company has acquired appropriate scale contour maps through remote sensing methods or has adopted suitable ground survey procedures to permit routine contour and tree position mapping.
        2.1.1 An appropriate operational map scale is not greater than 1:5,000 with contour intervals of not more than 5 m.
        2.1.2 Minimum information content of the operational contour and tree position maps includes all permanent and seasonal watercourses, contours, roads (existing and planned), block boundaries, physical features which could influence logging planning, and the location of all trees suitable for harvesting.
        2.1.3 It is recommended that systematic ground surveys leave behind a recognizable survey grid which can be used for field orientation.
   
    2.2 Accuracy of the maps must be adequate to permit accurate planning of skid trails according to contours, location of physical features (streams) and tree location information.
        2.2.1 Field checks will verify accuracy of the map. Tree location should be accurate within a radius of 20m.
Audit Notes Although contour mapping is recommended under MoF regulation, it is not an enforceable requirement. However, accurate contour maps play a much larger role in RIL planning than tree position maps, consequently, these indicators and verifiers are important preconditions to RIL implementation and should be subjected to significant audit scrutiny in the field.
  3. Forest roads are planned, located, constructed, and maintained so as to minimize the impact on the forest and related values.
    3.1 Company specific road standards have been developed to guide the planning, location, construction, maintenance, and deactivation of forest roads.
       
    3.2 Roads are located and constructed according to company standards.
       
    3.3 Road locations are routinely positioned on operational planning maps prior to commencement of logging planning and operations.
       
    3.4 Roads are maintained to minimize erosion.
       
    3.5 Roads no longer required for forest management activities, are deactivated so as to prevent erosion and to safeguard against unauthorized activities.
Audit Notes Technical guidance on roads is provided in the TFF “Planning, Location, Survey, Construction and Maintenance for Low Impact Forest Roads”
  4. Harvesting boundaries are established in the field and shown on the maps according to existing regulatory requirements.
    4.1 Procedures for the establishment of logging boundaries are clearly stated.
      4.1.1 Random and representative field checks verify the existence of operational boundaries.
       
    4.2 Harvesting boundaries do not conflict with or overlap with protected area boundaries as identified on a higher order plan, either inside or outside of the concession boundary.
Audit Notes Boundary demarcation is required under MoF regulations. Procedures are prescribed by the MoF in detail. Both map and field checks will be required to verify compliance.
  5. The company is in possession of valid concession license and a valid annual cutting permit (SK RKT)
      5.1.1 A document check verifies the existence of valid license documents
         
Audit Notes Possession of a valid concession license and annual cutting permit are part of the legality standard and one of the main pre-conditions for participation in the “RIL verified” program.
  6. Operational scale harvesting plans are prepared showing how the company proposes to carry out harvesting activities.
    6.1 Harvesting plans are prepared on the contour and tree position maps.
       
    6.2 The company has developed operational and environmental standards to guide planning and logging activities
      6.2.1 Operational standards include considerations for maximum gradient of skid trails, soil considerations, location of landings, organization (sub-compartmentalization) considerations, and stream crossing procedures
      6.2.2 Environmental standards include a policy on maximum slope suitable for ground based logging, riparian buffer zones, stream crossing, considerations for landings, and considerations related to cultural aspects.
         
    6.3 The company has designated capable personnel responsible for carrying out detailed logging planning.
      6.3.1 Accurate plans incorporating existing contour and tree position information as well as planning standards, are being routinely prepared.
         

Audit Notes

This is an RIL requirement. The only MoF logging planning requirement is the division of the annual harvest area into +/-100 hectare blocks and the planning of the trucking roads two years prior to harvesting. However, the preparation of detailed harvest plans by competent personnel is a key element in the successful adoption of RIL practices.
  7. Skid trails and landings are located prior to the commencement of felling activities in accordance with operational and environmental standards.
    7.1 The company has designated capable personnel responsible for carrying out detailed skid trail and landing location.
      7.1.1 Field checks confirm that skid trails and landings are being routinely located according to the logging plan and the standards which have been specified.
       
    7.2 Updated maps have been prepared showing actual location of landings and skid trails where there is a variation of the original plan.
Audit Notes Field checking is required to confirm compliance.
  8. Skid trails are opened prior to the commencement of felling activities and in accordance with operational and environmental standards.
    8.1 The purpose and procedure of opening up skid trails is clearly communicated to operational supervisors and personnel
      8.1.1 Foremen in charge of logging activities, have up-to-date and accurate maps to guide the extraction activities
         
    8.2 Simple technical guidelines exist for opening the skid trails.
      8.2.1 Field checks confirm that skid trails and landings are being routinely opened prior to felling and that skid trails and landings are built according to the specified standards.
         
Audit Notes This is an RIL requirement which seeks to ensure that the benefits of detailed harvest planning is actually passed on to the operational stage. Experience has shown that opening of the skid trails progressively with the logging operation, does not work effectively in the tall timber and broken terrain conditions commonly found in Indonesia, consequently, opening of the planned and located skid trails prior to felling is an important step in the process of implementating an RIL system.
  9. Felling and bucking is carried out according to RIL principles and guidelines.
    9.1 Fallers have been instructed on simple decision making criteria to guide their efforts at directional felling. This includes considerations for : personal safety, alignment to skid trail, location of future crop and protected trees, recoverability of the felled tree, and minimizing felling breakage
        9.1.1 Do the fallers have a pocket sized card covering basic falling and bucking considerations?
           
    9.2 Fallers are equipped with basic safety equipment and tools appropriate for the implementation of directional felling.
        9.2.1 Fallers are supplied with and use basic safety equipment (hardhats) as well as appropriate felling aids such as felling wedges?
           
      9.3 The company has a clear, written utilization policy and bucking standards. This policy should specify maximum tolerable defect, preferred log lengths, and acceptable species.
         
Audit Notes For additional technical details, the manual “Operational Considerations for RIL” should be consulted.:
  10. Skidding is carried out in such a way as to minimize soil disturbance and damage to the residual stand.
    10.1 The company has issued operating instructions to tractor operators which seek to ensure that machines remain on the skid trails and maximize winching.
      10.1.1 If the log is within 20 m of the skid trail, it should be extracted using the winch only unless its position is such that there is no clearance under the log for the cable or if there is an obstacle which would prevent direct winching.
         
    10.2 The tractor operator will not develop new skid trails which are not marked in the field without consulting with the foreman.
        10.2.1 There is no evidence of criss-crossing or duplicate skid trails.
           
Audit Notes This is an RIL requirement dealing with skidding. In the Dipterocarp forest, minimizing soil disturbance is the key to ensuring good regeneration. The forest floor usually has an abundance of seedlings. With the opening of the forest canopy, the existing regeneration grows aggressively. Soil disturbance not only implies destruction of poles and saplings, but also of the seedlings. Soil disturbance/displacement is the single most important factor affecting forest regeneration.
  11. The company has a clearly stated policy for deactivating landings and skid trails aimed at minimizing the risk of erosion.
    11.1 Deactivation guidelines for skid trails should specify how and under what conditions cross-ditching will be done.
       
    11.2 Cross-ditching of skid trails is a part of the tractor operator’s normal job description.
        11.2.1 Field checks verify that cross-ditching and deactivation of landings is done according to the company’s standards.
           
Audit Notes Field checks are required. Technical guidance is available in the manual, “Operational Considerations for RIL”.
  12. Monitoring and post-harvesting evaluation is being carried out with the intention of providing continuous self-evaluation and feed-back to the management on the implementation of RIL practices.
    12.1 Monitoring and evaluation activities have been identified as job descriptions and competent personnel have been instructed to carry out these functions.
      12.1.1 These duties may be added on to the job description of the foreman or new personnel may be appointed as ‘block inspectors’.
         
    12.2 Routine field monitoring is carried out during the logging activities to ensure that RIL objectives are being achieved
    12.3 A post harvesting evaluation procedure has been adopted, which assesses compliance with RIL objectives and reports to management.
      12.3.1 ‘Block reports’ are available. They should cover all aspects of the logging and deactivation requirements and should also report on utilization matters. An attached map indicating the areas logged is desireable.
         
Audit Notes Technical details are provided in the TFF publication, “Operational Considerations for RIL”.
  13. Management has put in place appropriate policies, instructions, and personnel to ensure that all sectors of the operation are clear on the need to modify practices to make the adoption of RIL practices an operational reality.
    13.1 Company policy and instructions to inventory, planning, and operations personnel, state the objectives of adopting RIL and clearly inform on individual job responsibilities.
      13.1.1 Policy statements and/or standard operating procedures exist which describe the various elements of the RIL system.
          13.1.2 Job descriptions exist which demonstrate the integration of function and responsibility.
             
      13.2 Personnel have been designated, trained, and adequately instructed to ensure that all RIL activities are carried out effectively.
         
Audit Notes Guidelines for implementation are provided in the TFF manual, “Management Considerations for RIL”.