The report - called 'Up for Grabs' - is a detailed analysis of evidence presented to the PNG government's Commission of Inquiry into how more than 5 million hectares of land was lost to the leases, often without the permission of landowners.
Australian and Malaysian logging companies are among the biggest beneficiaries of the leases.
Presenter: Jemima Garrett
Speakers: Paul Winn, author Greenpeace Report 'Up for Grabs'; Professor William Laurance, Tropical Biology, James Cook University; Norbett Pames, landowner, East New Britain Province
GARRETT: Eleven per cent of Papua New Guinea's entire land mass has been leased out under Special Agricultural and Business Leases in just a few short years.
In March 2011, community outrage forced the then Somare government to set up a Commission of Inquiry which has heard testimony from hundreds of landowners.
The Commission has finished its report but it will not be made public until it is tabled in parliament by the newly-elected government.
Greenpeace's Paul Winn says the Commission heard the process for granting SABLs was flawed.
WINN: They basically heard a litany of problems in the land investigation process, particularly. the land investigation process which was supposed to be undertaken by the department of Lands and Physical Planning was botched at every step of the way. indded in some instances the so-called developer company, who gained access to these sub-leases actually paid the public servants to do their job and in some cases actually overtook the process altogether.
GARRETT: Special Agricultural and Business Leases are not supposed to be granted without permission of the landowners.
for people living a subsistence life, loss of the land can result in being left without food, water or a place to live.
Five thousand hectares of Norbett Pames's land in East New Britain Province was cleared 2 years ago after being leased under an SABL.
PAMES: When they come to the area there was no proper process followed in order to get that project going.
GARRETT: Were you consulted about the granting of the land lease?
GARRETT: What difference has it made to your life and the life of your community since the land was cleared?
PAMES: Well, when they start clearing the forest and all this, the effect on our environment and the effect on our water, ..now it is hard for people to get water. And also there are other social problems happening in the affected area. people are dringking and fighting. You know, ladiesare having unexpected pregnancy and also they used to make garden and survive on the land. Now it is very hard because all the land are taken up by the logging operation.
GARRETT: Special Agriculatural and Business leases are meant to be for development which will benefit local people, not for logging.
In fact, logging companies hold many of the leases.
Greenpeace's Paul Winn says 75 % are foreign-owned.
WINN: They control 4 million hectares of the 5.1 million hectares of SABLs that was investigated by the Commission of Inquiry. In one case, in particular, an Australian company, Independent Timber and Stevedoring, has control of 2 million hectares, the largest single area of SABLs in Western province in Papua New Guinea. They actually undertook the process themselves. At every step of the way they manipulated the whole process and they now have most of the government approvals necessary to log 600,000 hectares of PNG's foirest which would be the largest logging operation in PNG's history.
GARRETT: Special Agricultural and Business Leases allow clear felling of forests - a practice not allowed on logging concessions where less-damaging selective harvesting is the rule.
The Greenpeace report says SABLs have been granted over some of PNG's most pristine environments and take in 130,000 hectares of protected areas.
last week in Nature - the world's most cited scientific journal - Professor William Laurance, from James Cook University, warned of threats to biodiversity in tropical protected areas.
He says Papua New Guinea has some of the richest and most varied biological real-estate on the globe.
LAURANCE: When you have that knind of complex distribution of biodiversity, what it means if you effectively nuke an area, which is what can happen with some of these Special Agricultural and Business leases, you can have very serious impacts and in some cases you can completely wipe out an entire species.
GARRETT: What sort of attention is this likely to get from the global scientific community, if the Papua New Guinea government allows the clearing of these Special Agricultural and Business leases?
LAURANCE: Well, it is interesting. It has already generated quite a lot of international concern. The association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, which is the worlds's largest international organisation that is involved with studying tropical forests and their threats and diversity, has already had a major international resolution on this issue. so that is really an indicator of the kind of level of international concern that is being focussed on this already.
GARRETT: Greepeace is calling on PNG's new post-election government, now looking increasingly likely to be led by current Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, to take action.
WINN: The first thing they need to do is to implement the recommendations of the recent Commission of Inquiry into SABLs. We haven't yet seen those recommendations. that report will be going to Peter O'Neill very shortly I'd imagine. But what we would also like to see, if it is not included in those recommendations is legislation introduced that overturns and nullifies any SABLs that are found to have significant objections by landowers or are found to have been granted fraudulently, or fraudulently obtained in any way.
GARRETT: Greenpeace says companies found to be in the wrong should be blacklisted and stopped from claiming compensation for loss of leases.
Paul Winn says many of PNG government systems need an overhaul - and he is calling on Australia to help.
WINN: There is a great opportunity for Australia to improve its relationship with papua New guinea. In the past, it has been a bit of a rocky relationship. One of the ways australia could do that is by providing some assistance to Papua New Guinea to actually develop a proper land use plan, where landowners have agreed to areas of their land being used for agricultural development and, also, where there are opportunities given for those landowners to not only pursue logging and agriculture but to have options aprt from those developments, such as tourism and so forth.