Revealing the Potential of the Landscape in Ketapang, West Kalimantan

The landscape in the Ketapang district of West Kalimantan, Indonesia is under severe pressure from the high density of concessions for palm oil, pulp and paper, mining, and logging. To provide a way forward, Aidenvironment is working with the Bumitama Gunajaya Agro (BGA) oil palm plantation company and IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, on a project that combines wildlife protection with sustainable production. [Read more]

This 30 month project, which started at the end of 2016, is one of the flagship projects of the new Sustainable Landscapes cluster established at our office in Bogor in January 2017. The cluster, which consists of five consultants and three GIS staff, was set up to meet the growing demand for projects on a wide range of topics, such as corridor planning, land use planning, forest conservation and rehabilitation, smallholder development, High Carbon Stock and High Conservation Value Assessments, and waste and water management.

The Ketapang project focuses on the area around the Sungai Putri peatland and the forest area of Gunung Tarak. The project has two goals. The first is the rehabilitation and management of a wildlife and green corridor for orangutans and other species between the two forest areas. The second is social and economic development, which will be regulated in village level land use plans for eight villages in and surrounding the corridor. Agreements will be sought with communities surrounding palm oil concessions to support smallholder development and alternative livelihood options. The district government is a crucial player as the required permits, integration in spatial plans, and management of the areas depend on its cooperation.

The first village land use plan has been prepared and a two-day workshop for representatives from government, companies and NGOs will be held in early March to explain the village level land use planning methodology developed by Aidenvironment. When all eight village level land use plans have been prepared, they will form the basis for the corridor plan and village level development plans. However, landscape projects face many complexities and hurdles. Although Aidenvironment is proud of the success achieved by BGA in acquiring a crucial concession (see quote below), activities in the crucial peat forest of Sungai Putri are putting the connectivity of the corridor project at risk.

IDH is keen to support this joint project with BGA and Aidenvironment in West Kalimantan, because it aims to prove the concept that investments in community and smallholder economic development, combined with land use planning and forest restoration, lead to sustainable results for people, planet, and profit in the landscape. We’ve already seen positive results just after the start of the project, when Aidenvironment was able to stop a palm oil plantation from opening up forest and peatland adjacent to the corridor. BGA acknowledged this as a main risk for the project objectives and immediately took responsibility by buying the area of the adjacent plantation. IDH would like to applaud this joint action. – Claudia Schlangen, Senior Program Officer Sustainable Landscapes, IDH

We are aware of the challenges this type of work entails, but we have built up a considerable body of expertise and a network to enable us to meet these challenges and work toward solid and practical solutions. Aidenvironment is also in the process of initiating several other landscape projects in West Kalimantan. We are therefore confident that this year the Sustainable Landscapes cluster can make a good start with changing the landscape in Ketapang.

For more information, please contact Basja Jantowski.