Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve REDD+, Indonesia

Type: Nature-based Solutions | Forest Conservation (REDD+)
Region: Asia
Standard: VCS, CCB, SD VISta

Based on the island of Borneo in Indonesia, this Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (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.

This is the first project to have been validated as contributing to all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Rimba Raya project is supplying village students with mobile phones, and uses Microsoft tablets to raise environmental awareness. An employee of the Rimba Raya project, I see the importance of enabling access to technology. 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.
Nisa Jalil's Story

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.
  • 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.

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100+ million tonnes of emissions reduced through carbon finance

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