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Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve REDD+, Indonesia

Protecting 65,000 hectares of tropical peat swamp from palm oil conversion by engaging local communities through education and agroforestry training.

Project Type: Natural climate solutions, Forest conservation (REDD+)

Standards: CCB, VCS

  • Community use of Rimba Raya
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Based on the island of Borneo in Indonesia, this REDD+ project preserves carbon-dense tropical peat swamp by helping to halt deforestation of roughly 65,000 hectares of forest which was originally slated for conversion to palm oil plantations. The project focuses on both community development – encompassing 2,500 households living within the project area – and biodiversity conservation, particularly the protection of the 105,000 endangered Borneo Orangutans. In order to deliver on its goals, the project actively engages local communities to improve food security, income opportunities, health care, and education – all with the support of carbon finance.

The first project to have been validated as contributing to all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to delivering emissions reductions to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13), the project delivers a number of other sustainable development benefits. It has been verified by the SDVISta standard (which is run by Verra) to contribute to all 17 SDGs, these include:

  • Zero Hunger: Training on the growth of cash crops such as fruit trees offers communities an alternative source of income. Improved fishing technologies and agricultural training also helps improve food security. The project is also supporting the construction and stocking of two community poultry egg farms, and will offer local residents technical training to ensure the longevity of these ventures. Manure from these egg farms will be used as a fertiliser for the community vegetable gardens - another of the project’s community-based programmes.
  • Quality Education: The project is focused on increasing environmental awareness amongst youths and adults in the project area; this includes education on reducing hunting activities and forest fires, and protection of important bird areas. Additionally, park personnel have access to training and capacity-building programmes to increase knowledge sharing around sustainable practices to avoid deforestation. The project has also established a scholarship fund that will be used to enhance educational access by funding the education of 3,750 community students over 10 years. Funds will also be used to provide 75,000 writing books.
  • Life on Land: Indonesia has the largest number of threatened mammal species in the world and 55 threatened mammal species inhabit Rimba Raya biodiversity reserve. Adjacent to Tanjung Putting National Park, Rimba Raya provides an important natural buffer which strengthens the management capacity of the park. With the latest GPS technology, mobile phones are used to collect data during field surveys for biodiversity monitoring.

Read More information to find out how the project delivers other sustainable development benefits.

  • Clean Water and Sanitation: Peatland environments regulate local water flows. By minimising land use change, the project is helping to prevent downstream flooding. Through local partnerships it is also training communities to manufacture and sell inexpensive water filtration devices, to provide clean drinking water to the entire population of over 2,500 households.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth: The community-based agroforestry programme and planting of native species helps increase crop productivity, both for subsistence use and for potential sale to project groups, such as Orangutan Foundation International, or nearby people. The growth of cash crops, such as fruit and rubber trees can offer some of the communities an alternative source of income if there are excess yields, or simply improve their current food expenditures. In one Rimba Raya village, a local community enterprise has enabled women to become self-employed through the manufacture and sale of shrimp paste. A number of direct employment opportunities have been created in order to patrol the reserve, monitor the carbon and biodiversity of the project and help with project management and community development activities. Community fire brigades are a vital line of defence in protecting the reserve from fires that might blow in from neighbouring palm oil plantations. The project is also indirectly helping employ other local people through its collaboration with several NGOs such as Health and Harmony and World Education.
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Two villages have built community centres which offer facilities for park and project staff as well as community organisations. The centres will supply news and radio communication facilities, libraries and social and agricultural training programmes.

From 2001 to 2018 Indonesia lost 25.6 Mha of tree cover equivalent to 10.5 Gt of CO2 emissions

Global Forest Watch

Nisa Jalil's Story

The Rimba Raya project is supplying village students with mobile phones, and uses Microsoft tablets to raise environmental awareness. Nisa, an employee of the Rimba Raya project, explains the importance of enabling access to technology. "This is Ridho from Sungai Perlu Village, Seruyan District. Like all seven year olds he have a wonderful grasp of technology and a great interest in photography - it was a pleasure to teach him how to take photos with the Microsoft Lumia Phone. Ridho was proud to announce that he would be taking many pictures of his beautiful village. It is important to teach kids who are quite isolated from the world about what is happening around them and about the amazing world of technology. The kids, in turn, teach each other their new found skills and in this way, manage to keep up with those who have greater exposure."

Projects like Rimba Raya play an essential role in protecting forest habitats, mitigating climate change, and developing livelihoods for forest communities. Filmed during a project visit, this video explores some of the activities that have been implemented to support both the critically endangered Borneo orangutan and the communities that live in the project area.

"Usually the orangutans are released into the Tanjung Puting National Park, but in March 2017, we witnessed the first release of 10 orangutans into the Rimba Raya project area. This was extremely rewarding for all members of the team." - Firnandez Ngariswara, Member of the Rimba Raya Project Team

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