Zürich, Jakarta, Bonn, 4 May 2021 - A joint initiative based on community and organizational collaboration is set to restore over 7,000 ha of degraded forest land within a contiguous forest complex of over 600,000 ha in the Mahakam Ulu Landscape of East Kalimantan province. The area has about 70,000 residents, mostly Dayak Indigenous Peoples who have traditional land rights throughout the landscape.

The Challenge

Substantial areas within the logging concessions in the landscape are degraded and risk full loss of forest cover and associated biodiversity. Forest restoration in these concessions has the potential to reverse this trend and contribute to climate change mitigation. However, limitations to this approach are numerous, including the cost for large-scale application or intermittent use of the restored areas for agriculture.

Collaboration for restoration

The Borneo Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council and supported by Precious Forests Foundation have come together to bring about an innovative approach with the aim of making a significant contribution to the future protection of the integrity of the forest and its biodiversity, as well as offering associated benefits for local communities.

The project consists of a three-year program that will trial cost-effective restoration techniques combining tree planting and natural regeneration, with the aim of restoring productive capacity and associated natural carbon capture. Importantly, the project will ensure support for permanent community agroforestry and delivering secure land access to communities with traditional land rights in the concession for their livelihoods.

The situation in the Mahakam Ulu landscape is typical for much of the forest areas of Indonesia and indeed in tropical forests worldwide. If successful, the restoration approach will have important scope for further use in Indonesia and elsewhere.

The Outcomes

The partners have identified a gross area of 11,000ha inside an FSC-certified forest management concession where the project activities will be carried out over a period of three years. The restoration area currently consists of degraded forest, shrub, and other degraded lands. Within that area, a restoration area of 7,000 ha and a further 2,200 ha for company-community partnerships have been earmarked as project area. The outcomes in the area will be as follows:

 

  • Development of well-established restoration tools that can be monitored and demonstrate the long-term, positive impacts of restoration actions.
  • Development of a methodology to quantify carbon capture resulting from forest restoration using the FSC ecosystem procedure.
  • Adoption of an innovative approach to ensure that Indigenous Peoples benefit from improved land access inside the concession through long-term agreements on land use and revenues from permanent agro-forestry systems that replace slash-and-burn practices.
  • Partnership with communities to secure land tenure for concession holder and reduce risk of conflicts.
  • Establishment of an international partnership to ensure quality of the research and create the basis for national and international outreach activities.

THE BORNEO INITIATIVE supports the restoration of degraded forests so they can regain their values. Through sustainable forestry, The Borneo Initiative contributes to preserving the environment while enabling forest communities to earn a decent living.

PRECIOUS FORESTS FOUNDATION (PFF) is dedicated to improving the sustainable use and valorisation of tropical forests thus contributing to the lasting preservation of their ecosystem services for both local communities and the planet as well as to the responsible, multiple use of their renewable wood and non-wood products.

THE FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL is the pioneer of forest certification. With 25 years of experience in sustainable forest management it is widely regarded as the world’s most trusted forest certification system, bringing together experts from the environmental, economic, and social spheres.

 

The Borneo Initiative – Peter de Haan; dehaan@theborneointiative.org

Precious Forests Foundation – Jeanne Ehrensperger; ehrensperger@precious-forests.foundation

Forest Stewardship Council – Gemma Boetekees; g.boetekees@fsc.org