In search for agreed land use solutions

Published in COAL ASIA MAGAZINE, OPINION, SEPTEMBER 22-OCTOBER 22, 2012, PAGE 102-103

by Fitrian Ardiansyah

To see the pdf version, please click: Opinion Fitrian Ardiansyah_CoalAsia_Sep2012

Searching for agreed sustainable land-use management in a developing country like Indonesia is a balancing act. The two recent government regulations issued this year, namely number 60 and 61, provide ample proof on this issue.

As a tropical forest developing nation, rapid development of forests – for forestry, agriculture, infrastructure or mining activities – in Indonesia has led not only to economic growth but also to environmental degradation and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

If no immediate actions taken, the unsustainable economic growth may push the already fragile ecosystems in this country close to its ‘tipping point’ – a threshold in which damages to ecosystems are irreversible and causing unacceptable environmental changes.

This country is home to peatlands, savannas and the third largest of the world’s tropical forests, which are considered among the most valuable ecosystems in the world.

Indonesia is hence considered as one of the mega-biodiversity countries. In the 2010 State of Biodiversity of Asia and the Pacific, however, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) ranked Indonesia second after Australia as having the most threatened plant and animal species in the region. This is due to, among other things, high rates of fragmentation and net loss of forests that have continued between 2000 and 2009.

In 2009, data from the Forestry Ministry show that Indonesia had 132.4 million hectares of forest estates (kawasan hutan) and out of these only 90.1 million hectares were covered by forest vegetation – of this roughly one-third was covered by primary forests, one-third by logged over areas and one-third by vegetation other than forest.

To address the ever declining state of the country’s forests, the Indonesian government has issued the moratorium of forest conversion in 2011 and introduced the overall REDD+ framework – that include efforts to reduce deforestation, forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forest and enhancement of forest carbon stock.

Implementing the moratorium, REDD+ and sustainable forest management is of course very challenging given the pressures coming from variety of sectors that have interests in forest and land use – sectors which, furthermore, are often regulated under different ministries and layers of government. These institutions are known to have issued overlapping policies on land use and land use changes, and influenced the issuance of different documents and maps of forest and land use.

These respected sectors are, nevertheless, crucial in the development of the economy of Indonesia. They are the main engine of this so-called emerging economy.

Commercial exploitation of natural forests began in 1967 and was one of the main drivers of the Indonesian economy since then. Billions of US dollars contributed from the export of forest products on a yearly basis consisting of plywood, sawn timber, and processed timber as well as pulp and paper, furniture and other processed timber products.

With regard to agriculture production, especially the palm oil sector, Indonesia in 2009 surpassed Malaysia to become the biggest producer of palm oil in the world, with production accelerating dramatically in recent years. Indonesia’s CPO (crude palm oil) exports and resultant revenues have increased significantly, from 3.8 million tons (valued at US$1 billion) in 1999 to 17.85 million tons in 2010 (US$10.03 billion).

The mining sector also contributes significantly to the country’s revenue. For instance, it is reported that the mining industry accounted for 10.8 percent of Indonesia’s GDP in 2009, with minerals and related products contributing one-fifth of the country’s total exports. This sector looks set to post strong average annual double-digit growth of 11.2 percent in real terms over the forecast period to reach US$149.8 billion in 2015.

To date, many scholars agree when it comes to land use change – including forest cover change – in Indonesia, forestry, palm oil, mining and infrastructure sectors are the most important and influential causes.

Given close association of these development sectors with land use and forest cover change, agreed and appropriate solutions need to be identified and reached so that economic development can still flourish while forest protection is ensured.

The issuance of the two government regulations – the Government Regulation (GR) No. 60 of 2012 on the amendment of No. 10 of 2010 on Procedures for Conversion of Allocation and Functions of Forest Areas and GR No. 61 of 2012 on the amendment of No. 24 of 2010 on Forest Area Utilization – has been perceived as an attempt by the Indonesian government to find such solutions.

As analyzed by one law firm (LGS) in its website, these two regulations have been issued to address a number of outstanding issues with the regulatory framework. This law firm argues that GR No. 60 of 2012 simplifies land replacement for permanent or limited production forests by removing the “adjacent to a forest” requirement, and GR No. 61 of 2012 is intended to provide certainty for borrow to use license holders, allow strategic industries to operate in forest areas, and reconcile conflicts with the Law No. 26 of 2007 on Spatial Planning Law.

There are always two sides of the coin. In the context of GR No. 60, the supporters of this regulation argue that this regulation improves legal certainty for the development activities, especially agriculture plantations, to take place.

This also ensures that plantation activities using particular forest estates need to replace these areas with the same size or bigger. The regulation, furthermore, puts the threshold of forests that cannot be converted in that particular estate (30 percent of the total area) and explicitly mentions about the importance of ensuring the environmental carrying capacity of the estate.

With regard to GR No. 61, this regulation offers improvement of legal certainty for particular mining activities which have been operated or obtain licenses in forest areas.

Many critics, however, claim that this regulation will only jeopardize the future sustainable forest management and forest protection in this country. Some environmental organizations refer to the fact that rapid expansion of oil palm plantations, for instance, has caused the conversion of a significant area of forests and peat lands.

These organizations are backed up by some scholarly studies including the one conducted in 2008 that estimated that palm oil development was responsible for a significant percentage of deforestation in Indonesia.

A similar accusation is labeled against the mining industry. A study conducted in 2000 argues that the development of mining will result in negative impacts including extensive land disturbance, loss of forest cover and habitat, contamination of rivers used for drinking water and food supplies, and increasing social conflict over access to mineral resources.

It is clear that regardless of the issuance these two regulations, conflicting claims and arguments will remain.

The role of the government is critical to ensure that land use processes and outputs resulting from these two regulations are synchronized with the efforts carried out by the process put in place under the moratorium of forest conversion that has resulted in one land use and forest cover map as well as the overall REDD+ process.

Without synergizing these two regulatory and substantive processes, Indonesia will miss the opportunity to provide legal certainty for both economic development and environmental protection.

As a country that has committed to sustainable development agenda, it is important that the country is not just focusing on economic performance but also on the environmental and social aspects of development. This means that the government needs to provide guidance and push for sustainable and responsible practices in the plantation and mining industry’s operations.

Many has argued that plantations and mining operations which overlap with Indonesia’s forests, especially overlaps with areas of high ecological values, have already caused significant impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems.

It is, therefore, important for the players in these sectors, particularly the private sector, to show that they are as much as responsible and willing to improve their practices for the better.

Indonesia is at the cross road in showing whether the country can develop its economy without further harming its environment.

These two recently issued regulations show once again the challenge in achieving that balancing act.

——

Fitrian Ardiansyah

The writer is climate and sustainability specialist, a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, and the recipient of Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award. He can be reached at fitrian.ardiansyah@anu.edu.au

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Balancing energy development and forest protection

Published in COAL ASIA MAGAZINE, VOL. 2, OPINION, AUGUST 17-SEPTEMBER 17, 2012, PAGE 94-95

by Fitrian Ardiansyah

To see the pdf version, please click COALASIA_OPINION_fitrian ardiansyah_energy&forest_Aug2012

As the largest energy producer and consumer in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is currently struggling to cope with the increase in energy demand each year, causing short-term energy shortage and likely leading to worse situation if no immediate actions taken.

Albeit having enormous energy potential, developing energy sources in this country, while desirable, is fraught with hurdles, ranging from regulatory and pricing issues, lack of capacity and investment, to the problematic location of energy sources.

The heavy reliance on subsidized fossil fuels means it has brought about significant problems of energy security and economic issues, especially ever since Indonesia became a net importer of both crude oil and refined products in 2004.

The new extraction of oil, gas and coal as well as the development of new and renewable energy sources has been viewed as a priority by the government but this development faces a number of challenges, such as the fact that some locations of these energy sources overlap with Indonesia’s remaining important and fragile ecosystems, including its forests.

It has been reported by the Forestry Ministry in 2011 that the area of forests within mining concessions, which include for oil, gas and coal activities, covers approximately 2.03 million hectares – based on 842 licenses given for mining related exploration and exploitation between 2005 and 2011.

A number of environmental organizations, such as Mining Watch Canada and Walhi, even claimed a higher number stating that as of 2005, mining activities have encroached on or threatened 11.4 million hectares of forest in Indonesia, including 8.68 million hectares of protection forests and 2.8 million hectares of conservation areas.

A 2008 study conducted in South Kalimantan by M. Handry Imansyah and Luthfy Fatah of Lambung Mangkurat University, published in ASEAN Economic Bulletin, found that a massive coal exploitation without a proper technical handling for reclamation can cause serious water contamination and land degradation, because many mining areas are often left without rehabilitation.

A similar concern may also be said when it comes to the development of renewable energy, namely biofuels and geothermal.

In the case of biofuels development, mainly from palm oil, although considered as one of renewable sources of energy and therefore has the greenhouse gas (GHG) saving potentials, the development of these crops can further increase GHG emissions if the plantation replace forests and peat lands.

A 2011 article written by Gayathri Vaidyanathan in Nature shows that, for example, in North Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces, 38 and 35 percent, respectively, of peat-swamp forest were converted to oil palm plantations by the early 2000s – leading to the release of about 144.6 million tons of carbon from biomass above ground and peat oxidation below ground.

Another study conducted by Lian Pin Koh and David S. Wilcove in 2008, published in Conservation Letters,estimates that over 56 percent of oil palm expansion occurred at the expense of natural forest cover for the period between 1990 and 2005. In addition, according to the 2009 BAPPENAS (National Development Planning Agency) report, as of 2006, plantation licenses (i.e. predominantly for oil palm) on peatlands totalled 1.3 million ha.

With regard to geothermal energy, this type of renewables has a significant potential to contribute to the future electricity generating capability – with 10 gigawatts of total geothermal potential that is presently ready for commercial extraction as reported in 2009 by the World Bank.

If developed appropriately and immediately, geothermal energy can at least reduce the burden of approximately 35 percent of the current total generation capacity in 2035, as argued in a 2012 paper written by a research team from the Christian University of Indonesia, and eventually contribute to climate change mitigation.

Accelerating the development of geothermal energy is likely to be challenging since up to 60 percent of its potentials and reserves are located in the remaining important forest areas, according to a 2009 paper written by Montty Girianna, the Energy, Mineral and Mining Resources Director of Bappenas.

The exploration, extraction and overall activities of oil, gas, coal and geothermal have been previously subjected to the laws regulating the protection and management of pristine forests, including employing stricter conditions under which licenses are to be issued.

A 2011 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers explains that the Forestry Law No. 41 of 1999 (and its amendments No. 1 of 2004 and 19 of 2004) prohibit oil, gas and mining activities in protected forest areas except where a government permit is obtained.

This, however, was gradually altered, particulary since February 2010 when Government Regulation No. 10 of 2010 on Forest Areas Utilization was introduced. According to this regulation, development projects, including oil and gas activities, power plants, mining, transport and renewable energy projects, can take place in protected forests if they are deemed strategically important.

Specifically on geothermal, a presidential decree (No. 28 of 2011) released on 19 May 2011, allows conditional underground mining in protected forest areas, which includes geothermal energy. This decree was later strengthened with the release of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and the Forestry Ministry (No. 7662 of 2011) aiming at accelerating the permit issuance of geothermal energy development in forest areas.

Critics, however, view that these regulations and policies which promote and accelerate energy development in forest areas will also encourage other destructive mining activities to take place since the use of the definition of ‘strategic’ or ‘vital’ development activities can have multiple interpretation.

Furthermore, these critics question the level of seriousness of the Indonesian president’s pledge to reduce Indonesia’s GHG, if many of his government’s policies still incorporate a large number of activities that will lead to deforestation in primary and secondary forests as well as peatlands.

It is, therefore, imperative for Indonesia to find practical and applied solutions to balance energy development and forest protection.

The balanced development of energy and forest protection is also crucial since the pledge made by Indonesia’s President particularly mentioning his commitment to changing the status of Indonesia’s forests from a net-emitter sector to a net-sink sector by 2030 and more specifically, emphasizing the preservation of areas under forest protection as one of key programs.

One immediate step to do this, for example, is by harmonizing and synergizing different regulations and policies that will result in a clearer guidance from the government. Vague words like ‘vital’ or ‘strategic’ development activities need to be clarified so that these will not be used as a loop hole.

Synergyzed policies will not be implementable if data regarding conventional energy sources, renewables and forest areas are not synergized as well. Recent actions taken by a number of government’s institutions to synchronize and agree on a map of forest and land use in Indonesia – adhered to across all sectors and levels of government – are therefore crucial to contribute to balancing energy development and forest protection.

Following these steps, a set of sustainability benchmarks is deemed urgent to be instituted to provide technical directions to mitigate the impacts and risks of energy development on forests.

The sustainability benchmarking – promoting principles of high conservation value forest, effective environmental assessment, management plans and monitoring, and multi-stakeholders participation – is required because not only the actual environmental impacts have to be mitigated but also the perceived risks coming from energy projects on these ecosystems need to be addressed, in which local communities and the public may have substantial interest.

The development and implementation of these benchmarks will also align with other laws regulating forest and biodiversity protection, namely the 2009 Forestry Law, the 1990 Biodiversity Conservation Law and the 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law.

As an emerging economy with a significant increase in energy demand, supplying energy while reducing environmental impacts is definitely a balancing act.

Finding solutions, as elaborated above, is hence urgently required and if these solutions are applied appropriately, Indonesia is likely to secure its future energy in a sustainable way.

——

Fitrian Ardiansyah

The writer is climate and sustainability specialist, a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, and the recipient of Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award. He can be reached at fitrian.ardiansyah@anu.edu.au

Igniting the Ring of Fire: a Vision for Developing Indonesia’s Geothermal Power

Early July 2012, Published by WWF-Indonesia, Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah and Ali Ahsat.

WWF-Indonesia released a report, co-authored by Fitrian Ardiansyah and Ali Ashat, entitled “Igniting the Ring of Fire: A Vision for Developing Indonesia’s Geothermal Potential” – an essay that elaborates the challenges and opportunities involved in the development of geothermal energy in Indonesia, as well as gives a picture on their possible workarounds.

For the pdf file of the complete report: please read geothermal_report or alternatively click http://awsassets.wwf.or.id/downloads/geothermal_report.pdf

This report discusses economic, social, policy, financial and environmental aspects of geothermal energy development in Indonesia, including balancing geothermal energy development and forest protection, and setting the price right for geothermal investment.

 

 

Revisiting the global role of tropical forest nations

The Strategic Review Journal, Volumen 2, No. 1, Jan-Mar 2012.

Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah is a Climate and Sustainability Specialist Based in Canberra, Australia. He spent 14 years working in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, including as the Adviser and Program Director for climate and energy at World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia.

Please find the link to the first part of this article here: http://www.sr-indonesia.com/this-months-issue/indonesia-360/131-revisiting-the-global-role-of-tropical-forest-nations (the complete article can be purchased by subscribing to the journal). This first part of the can also be found below:

Revisiting the global role of tropical forest nations

Rapid development of tropical forest nations has led not only to economic growth but also to environmental degradation and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, these nations are home to peatlands, savannas and half of the world’s forests, which are considered among the most valuable ecosystems in the world.

The trade of timber and other products derived from these ecosystems provides substantial foreign exchange earnings for these nations and contributes to global wealth. Such economic gains, however, are accompanied by a high rate of forest loss, which is turn has been identified as a crucial factor in causing flooding, droughts, wildfires and recently, climate change. Striking the right balance between economic development and environmental protection, therefore, is an immediate challenge for these nations and the world.

Tropical forest nations, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), include 23 countries in the Americas, 37 in Africa and 16 in Asia. Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Indonesia are the three largest tropical forest nations, each representing a different continent (Figure 1). The combined total estimated forest area of these three nations in 2010, as reported by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), is 771.5 million hectares – more than half of the world’s tropical forests. For decades, government policies and private investment in these three nations have been viewed as the root causes of the exploitation of their forests and terrestrial ecosystems. These policies and investments have yielded considerable economic returns. Forests play an important role in the national economies of these three countries and provide livelihoods for local communities.

Figure 1: The Map of Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia

click picture for bigger size

Source: The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), 2011

In Brazil, a study written by Eustáquio J Reis and Fernando A Blanco and published in 2000 revealed that macroeconomic and regional policies implemented after the 1960s played a decisive role in driving forest exploitation and clearance. For instance, credit and fiscal subsidies to agriculture, supported by an expanded road network, pushed the agricultural frontier, particularly cattle ranching, further into the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest. In recent decades, however, multiple factors and actors have been considered as the driving forces. These include road, railway and other infrastructure construction, government policies on colonization and subsidies for agro-pastoral projects (mainly cattle ranching), agricultural modernization (associated with the diversification of output towards commercial crops such as soybeans), timber extraction and mining, and charcoal production.

To read the complete article: Subscribe now

About Strategic Review:

The Strategic Review is the Indonesian Journal of Leadership, Policy and World Affairs with its editorial board led by Dr Hassan Wirajuda (Former Minister of Foreign Affairs) and its advisory board consists of Prof Juwono Sudarsono (Former Minister of Defense), Let Gen (Ret) Agus Widjojo (Executive Board in the Partnership for Governance Reform), Prof. John Thomas (Harvard Kennedy School of Government USA), Prof. Erhard Friedberg (Sciences Po France) and Prof Arne Westad (London School of Economics UK).

Along with my article, there are other articles published in this edition including those written by Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the IMF), Dr Dino Patti Djalal (The Ambassador of Indonesia to the US), Dr Muhammad Chatib Basri (the Vice Chairman  of the National Economic Committee of the President  of the Republic of Indonesia) and Sydney Jones (International Crisis Group). The complete journal can be found at http://www.sr-indonesia.com/

Case Study: promoting sustainable livelihoods in Danau Sentarum National Park, West Kalimantan — the case of Wild Honey Bees

By Fitrian Adiansyah, Abetnego Tarigan, Maria Cristina Guerrero, Aloisa Zamora-Santos, Heri Valentinus, in Forest partnerships: enhancing local livelihoods and protecting the environment in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, 2007, edited by Maria Osbeck and Marisha Wojciechowska-Shibuya, IUCN, Bangkok, pp. 20-23. For the pdf version of the full please click here: 2007_CaseStudy_WildHoneyBees

West Kalimantan is one of four provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo. The province has a population of about 3.74 million people (2000 Census) and major ethnic groups include the Dayak, Malay and Chinese, who constitute about 90% of the total population.

The borders of West Kalimantan roughly trace the mountain ranges surrounding the watershed of the Kapuas River, the longest river in Indonesia, which drains much of the province, namely the extensive Lake Sentarum area — an extensive protected reserve of 132,000 hectares of lakes and of seasonally inundated forest ecosystems.

The Lake Sentarum area plays an important role as a natural reservoir for the mid- and downstreams of the Kapuas River and watershed . Of particular importance is the annual flooding regime (flood pulse), which ensures biological abundance that is extensively utilized by local people and forms a vital part of the local economy. In addition to fishing, local people depend on harvesting a variety of other terrestrial and aquatic organisms for their livelihoods, many of which are thought to be closely associated with the energy and nutrient cycles dependent on the annual flood pulse phenomenon. The Kapuas River is 1,143 km long and the watershed is 85,200 km2 in area. Despite abundant rich natural resources and biodiversity, threats to the forests stemming from logging and agricultural expansion have made life increasingly more difficult for the majority of people living in the area who remain below the poverty line.

Local NGOs have collaborated to tackle the threats to Danau Sentarum and to provide assistance to local people in support of their livelihoods. They have played a role in providing critical services in areas such as: Indonesian natural resource law; regulations on international investment and relations; ways to register community land; and negotiation tactics and strategies. Recent efforts by WALHI, WWF-Indonesia, SawitWatch and Riak Bumi have focused on facilitating a dialogue between communities, other local NGOs and government officials to find workable solutions for the future management of the Kapuas Watershed.

As sustainable management regimes in the upland areas impact the honey harvesting activity downstream, in December 2006, Riak Bumi, WALHI, Sawit Watch and WWF co-organized a multi-stakeholder dialogue with government and non-government actors, resulting in a declaration that commits communities upstream to end electrofishing by 1 January 2007 and prohibits the use of small size nylon nets as of January 2008.

Wild Honey Harvesting and Marketing

Nests of Apis dorsata, the giant honey bee, have traditionally been exploited to produce large volumes of honey and wax for trade. The tikung system of honey collection is still practised by a relatively large group of the local population in the DNSP region. The honey is collected via three different techniques: lalau (climbing up tall trees to harvest honey), tikung (traditional honeyboard system) and repak (a place where bees produce no more than one comb on any kind of any tree branch — the first person to find the comb becomes its owner). Although the tikung system is the most typical honey harvesting approach practised in the park, honey gathering from tall trees that have been colonized by bees is also popular in this region.

Apis dorsata wild honey has good economic potential as a food product as gatherers can obtain a high price. For local forest communities, wild honey (an NTFP) can be an alternative income source to help cover their daily needs. Sustainable harvesting of wild honey and management of Apis dorsata habitats are essential to protect the forest and the environment. Honey harvesting is also an alternative solution to mitigate de-forestation problems that have surfaced in recent years in Indonesia, resulting in the degradation of natural resources and the environment.

In this context, Riak Bumi initiated theIndonesia National Workshop on the Wild Honey Bee Network in Danau Sentarum National Park in January 2005 with participants from Kalimantan and Sulawesi. This forum facilitated the exchange and sharing of experiences on the management and practical utilization of wild honey bees by local gatherers; information dissemination and communication between areas emerged as a strategy for addressing forestry problems in Indonesia.

At the forum, participants raised concerns about the difficulty of marketing wild honey bee products. Discussion revealed that harvesting practices and postharvest processes result in low quality wild honey; moreover local
conditions, namely forest fire smoke and logging, exacerbate the problem. The participants agreed to work towards standardization to ensure good quality wild honey in order to meet market demand. They also agreed to set up a wild honey bee network to facilitate support facilities and information exchange and dissemination. The network’s goals are to improve the quality of wild honey, to enhance its marketing value and to generate increases in volume and price. Such aims will provide incentives to encourage more gatherers to harvest honey judiciously and maintain natural bee habitats in the forest. Riak Bumi plans to select locations for extension in Sumba, Flores, Sumbawa, possibly (later) West Papua and Mentawai archipelago.

Honey and beeswax is sold in local and regional markets; Riak Bumi has worked to link communities and markets directly to close the gap between the producer and the final consumer. This has helped to channel increased
economic benefit to the local producers that would have otherwise been diverted at various levels of the marketing chain.

During the 2003 harvest season, Riak Bumi helped package and market over 1.5 tonnes of honey from participating villages and double the financial return to the producers. With an additional 20 tonnes of honey harvested annually throughout the DSNP area, this initiative could potentially contribute to significant poverty reduction for many communities. By helping new communities to improve the quality and marketing of their honey, Riak Bumi will augment socio-economic benefits to more villages.

[Fitrian Ardiansyah, World Wide Fund for Nature WWF-Indonesia: “It is difficult for NGOs to determine what to prioritize because the companies are moving so fast.” “We need an integrated approach to the problems. Partnering with a network of NGOs made us expand our horizons, and build mutual understanding and relationships on regional issues to strategize and seek the optimal solutions.” “NGOs from the South have built a good working and sharing network on rain-forest issues through this programme; but what about the NGOs from the North?”]

As honey gatherers increasingly recognize the enhanced financial value of their honey, there is a corresponding marked shift in people’s attitudes towards local forest protection, conservation and enhancement. This includes
growing recognition among communities for the need to work cooperatively to reduce the risk of fires; to adopt self-imposed rules to guide the community in the use of forest resources; and to re-plant to enhance bee habitats and ensure future wood-supplies. In 2000 and 2001, four local villages in the park worked together to reforest 120 hectares.

Furthermore, while many bee-keeping projects throughout the developing world have focused on the introduction of frame hive bee-keeping systems, which require the importation of exotic bee species (i.e. Apis mellifera or A. cerana), the DSNP project has emphasized the need to improve upon the traditional honey-board hunting system (tikung harvesting system), which works with the indigenous A. dorsata bee and is compatible with the
ecological conditions of the DSNP.

With Riak Bumi facilitating the training of six villages in improved harvest and post-harvest processing techniques, marketing of forest honey, as well as participatory reforestation of fire-damaged sites in seven villages, the communities have heightened awareness about the need for baseline data to monitor honey production, bee population ecology and forest regeneration. As a result, permanent monitoring plots to gauge their achievements have recently been established in the DSNP.

Furthermore, in June 2002, Riak Bumi co-organized a workshop on “Anthropogenic Impacts on DSNP” that convened local communities, NGOs, government agencies and academic institutions. This resulted in a community
declaration committing them to participate in the conservation and management of the park through specific clauses on customary laws, forest protection and apiculture development. The continuation and expansion of these activities reflect the park communities’ recognition of the critical link between livelihood sustainability and the need for their active participation in biodiversity conservation.

Organic Certification 

In 2006, BIOCert an organic certifying body in Indonesia, announced that it had selected the Forest Honey Network Indonesia as its pilot project for organic certification. Guided by BIOCert, Riak Bumi, the national secretariat of the network, and the NTFP-EP (head-quartered in the Philippines) joined forces to develop Local Standards and an Internal Control System (ICS) for the Honey Producer Groups of the Wild Honey Harvesters in West Kalimantan.

While various aspects of the management system need to be analysed to determine whether the honey produced by the network qualifies for organic certification, the network seems to be well on its way to setting up its ICS and eventually becoming certified. With a number of factors already working in its favour — a sustainable management system and strong established institutions that can manage the certification process — the Forest Honey Network Indonesia’s madu (honey) may soon bear the organic seal and break into worldwide markets.

Original link: http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/forest_partnership.pdf

The HCVF Application in Indonesia

Indonesia has some of the most biodiverse rainforests in the world, but also the highest deforestation rate. The HCVF (high conservation value forest) concept has taken hold in Indonesia as a means of reconciling economic pressures to open up forest areas with the need to reduce the rate of forest loss.

Several NGOs have actively encouraged the use of the concept, integrating HCVF within their ongoing work on conservation, sustainable forestry and land use management, in collaboration with government ministries, the private sector and local communities. The urgent objective of applying the concept, as far as many are concerned, is to help pre-empt forest conversion and the loss of biodiversity and social values that accompanies it.

HCVF assessment represents an embryonic concept introduced and promoted by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – originally intended for site specific Forest Management Units (FMUs) – and now adopted further such as by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The basic premise is that all forested areas possess biological, environmental and social values with identifiable conservation attributes.

If these attributes are identified, then management should ensure maintenance and/or enhancement of High Conservation Values (HCV) described by these conservation attributes. The Indonesian HCVF toolkit was the first national version to be produced, in 2003, and various arms of government are currently studying how HCVF can fit into existing government policies and planning processes. If this integration of HCVF into government policy goes ahead, it will help to align government land-use decisions with demands from international markets for ‘HCVF-free’ paper products and sustainably-produced palm oil.

To date, HCVF work in Indonesia has included a considerable number of HCVF assessments at the concession level by pulp, palm oil and timber companies, including more than a dozen in Sumatra and a handful in Kalimantan. WWF (in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua), The Nature Conservancy (in East Kalimantan), Tropenbos (East Kalimantan), Flora and Fauna International (West Kalimantan) and Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (North Sumatra & Aceh) have been working with companies and local governments to designate, manage and monitor HCVFs within plantations and logging concessions.

Several landscape-level HCVF assessments have also been undertaken in, for example:

– The Trans-fly region of southern part of Papua Province, where the HCVF assessment identified priority conservation areas and important indigenous social/cultural areas, and helped WWF to influence local government to incorporate this in its planning process;

– Riau Province, Sumatra, where the coarse-scale HCVF assessment provided the basis for negotiation to secure the conservation of the few remaining large intact forest blocks such as the Tesso Nilo Forest complex;

– West Kalimantan Province, Kalimantan, where HCVF assessment provided the arguments for WWF and other NGOs to sustain remaining forest areas and protect the ‘Heart of Borneo’.

The HCVF landscape analysis is predominantly approached through the generation of maps and spatial analysis. In Papua and West Kalimantan cases, the HCVF landscape level assessments have been strengthened by the efforts to acknowledge and incorporate social and cultural values. This part of assessment was undertaken through a series of consultative meetings and a workshop with social experts and representatives of indigenous communities.

In the case of timber plantations, WWF has been urging pulp and paper companies APP and APRIL to protect the HCVFs in their concessions in Riau, Sumatra. In response, APP appeared to commit to protecting the HCVF found in one of its concessions and commissioned Smartwood to map HCVFs in three of its other FMUs in the area. On the basis of this mapping, APP announced that it would protect the HCVFs identified and signed an agreement with Smartwood to track how well it is managing its HCVFs over the next five years. However, recent monitoring reports have shown that APP has failed to protect these areas from fires, illegal logging and further forest conversion, despite its earlier pledges.

For its part, APRIL conducted its own HCVF assessments in several of its FMUs, with support from local and international experts. APRIL also commissioned Proforest to conduct additional HCVF assessments. Furthermore, the company pledged it would not convert any HCVFs, as identified through application of the Indonesian toolkit, in any of its new concessions and would not source wood from HCVFs anywhere in the world for any of its mills. However, in April 2006, an investigation found that natural forest in a concession associated with APRIL was being logged, causing disturbance to elephant habitat.

In oil palm concessions, three of Indonesia’s major palm oil producers, PT SMART Tbk., PT Astra Agro Lestari Tbk. and PT. London Sumatra Tbk. have signed Memoranda of Understanding with WWF to undertake pilot HCVF assessments with WWF in some of their concessions. Both companies have agreed to implement the protection and management prescriptions identified in the HCVF work, and to apply the lessons learned in their other concessions throughout Indonesia. The companies hope to apply the lessons-learned from this pilot to their other concessions. However, the effectiveness of HCVF application in this sector is yet to be seen.

The overall HCVF application in Indonesia still raises several key challenges, which include:

– The first version of Indonesia HCVF toolkit was developed by a relatively small group of interested practitioners and experts. Since then, much experience in HCVF assessment has been gained and many more stakeholders have become involved. The challenge now is to involve a wider group of stakeholders in a process to strengthen the toolkit based on this experience, including stronger social/cultural analysis and lessons-learned from the oil palm experience;

– The results of HCVF assessment at landscape and provincial-wide levels need to be further used to influence government’s land use and development planning – for instance, by being gazetted in the provincial and/or district spatial planning;

– The cases with pulp and paper and oil palm companies highlight the need for active stewardship of HCVFs if company commitments are to make a real difference in practice.

Article compiled and re-written by Fitrian Ardiansyah, WWF-Indonesia (fardiansyah@wwf.or.id) based on several articles on HCVF written by WWF-International and WWF-Indonesia

Source: WRM’s bulletin Nº 114, January 2006, http://www.wrm.org.uy/bulletin/114/Indonesia.html