The Launching of “Little Sustainable Landscapes Book”

by Fitrian Ardiansyah, 5 December 2015, Global Landscape Forum, Paris, COP-21.

Little Landscape Book

Picture: by Nienke Stam

The book is written collaboratively by GCP (Global Canopy Program), EcoAgriculture, IDH-The Sustainable Trade Initiative, TNC (The Nature Conservancy) and WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature).

My remarks at a panel discussion during the launching if this book are:

1) Transformation of commodities throughout supply chain may improve individual concessions and sectors but cross-sectoral challenges are still there and may need to be addressed further. These challenges include land legality, peat/forest management at a larger scale, water/ hydrological management, social dimension/conflicts, and improving productivity of smallholders.

2) Hence, combining productivity improvement and forest/peat protection is required to be done also beyond the scope of concessions. The scale we are talking about include a larger landscape level.

3) This “Little Sustainable Landscapes Book” appears to be little in its presentation but can have a huge impact since it can provide lessons-learnt and guidance for land use players and stakeholders to have a better landscape approach and initiative – and to collaborate meaningfully.

4) In the context of government leadership, not only national government, but sub-national level governments need to take the lead. Nevertheless, they need to be supported by the private sector as well as NGOs and communities to ensure that a healthy mosaic landscape can be achieved.

5) IDH, in our capacity, is piloting 7 to 9 landscapes around the globe and we have provinces in Indonesia that we are trying to support: i.e. South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Aceh. We believe landscape interventions in this province would entail components of better spatial planning, green growth plan, individual commodities/sectoral plans that take account sustainability, and co-financing/investment to improve productivity of small players and protection/restoration.

6) The costs/investment for landscape interventions, nevertheless,is enormous. Financial sources need to come from both public sources (e.g. government budget, CPO/crude palm oil Fund in the context of Indonesia) and private sources. If these can be combined, challenges in a landscape can be addressed in a structured way.

Copy of the book can be found at http://globalcanopy.org/sustainablelandscapes

The complete coverage of Little Sustainable Landscapes Book Launch Panel can also be watched on YouTube

 

 

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Sustainable forest management and a healthy landscape

by Fitrian Ardiansyah, 3 December 2015, Paris, Indonesia Pavilion, COP-21, UNFCCC.

 

Fitrian_3 Dec_COP21

These remarks were taken from my presentation and discussion that contributed to a panel discussion on Natural Forest: Production and Conservation.

The key points are:

(1) IDH’s Tropical Timber Program has been working in three important tropical regions: i.e. Amazon, Congo Basin, Indonesia. We support and co-finance efforts of concessions and others to achieve certified sustainable forest management. In each region, the aim is to obtain 4 million ha of credible certified SFM (sustainable forest management). In Indonesia we collaborate with and support The Borneo Initiative and many concessions. The progress in Indonesia is that 1.5 million hectares have been certified (fully or control wood) and more than 2 million hectares are still in progress.

(2) We also work in the demand side, ensuring the uptake and market access of that SFM products.

(3) To achieve sustainability, addressing legality is a must and can act as a starting point. In our view, there will not be sustainability without legality. Initiatives like SVLK (timber legality verification system) in Indonesia should be encouraged and supported.

(4) Individual SFM and concessions are good but still insufficient, especially if we want to address cross-cutting issues and challenges. These include wildlife management and protection, fire, peat and water management, high conservation values and social dimension. These concessions – albeit having certified SFM – still need to work together among themselves and with other land use actors, including oil palm plantations, industrial timber plantations and communities. Based on this, selecting a landscape approach as a platform is imperative.

(5) In a landscape approach, not only regulations that would be crucial to guide collaboration, incentives need to be created so that better behaviour of land use actors can be ensured.

Please see the presentation here: SFM and landscape_FA_03122015

Note: Picture by Aristia Wanjaya

Can we realize a ‘sustainable landscape’?

By Fitrian Ardiansyah, published in Coal Asia, 25 January – 25 February 2015, page 142-144

for the pdf version (584kb), please see: Coal Asia 51_Fitrian Ardiansyah_ISLA_143-144_Jan-Feb2015

Coal Asia 51

The global population and the demand for food, fiber and fuel are sharply on the rise. As a consequence, there is a constant question whether our human civilization can meet such demand while ensuring that our resources, landscape and ecosystems can be sustainably managed for the long-term.

In Indonesia alone, the Agriculture Ministry projects that there are 23.3 million tons of rice needed in 2015 and 28.1 million in 2030 to meet the demand of 255 million and 308 million people in the corresponding years. It is clear that threats to food security will grow as the population continues to soar and economic activities develop, while land availability becomes more limited.

Indonesia’s primary energy supply and demand per capita show that the country remains relatively strong in the context of energy security issues, indicated by a sufficient energy provision per capita. Data in 2013, however, show that the average growth of supply was only 3.5%, below the average growth of demand at 4%. Without proper interventions and measures, Indonesia is likely to have an energy security issue in the future.

Development of Indonesia’s land and resources is also driven by the global demand. Palm oil is a prime example of this. The skyrocketing global demand for vegetable oils has pushed land development all over the tropics including in Indonesia. Currently, this commodity is grown on 16.4 million hectares worldwide and more than majority of the production is in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Global and domestic demand for coal, to some extent to compensate the shift from oil dependency, has dramatically increased the production of coal. This is indicated by a persistent growth of production of coal, with the proportion of export reaching above 90% in the period of 2007-2009, as reported by the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry in 2012.

Meeting such demand would require Indonesia to continue exploiting its resources and land. These development activities would certainly impact on local communities and our remaining fragile ecosystems.

The development agricultural, forestry and energy sectors contribute to the country’s economy but at the same time, as a result, water, land and other natural resources are becoming scarcer.

The use of water for agriculture, mining and industry means increased competition among cities, industrial estates and farmers. Concerns are also growing about the large-scale overdraft of groundwater and water contamination from agricultural runoff, and industrial and mining waste.

The increased use of land, the conversion of forests and the extraction of natural resources, mean continuous deforestation, and ecosystems and land degradation. In addition to direct forest or ecosystem conversion, poor soil management practices, frequent use of heavy machinery and improper use of technology lead to a significant reduction in the productive capacity of land.

Furthermore, the growth of land use and land use change can create disputes over land rights and ownership leading to conflicts, with other land users, local and indigenous communities.

Deforestation and the expansion of land for agricultural, industrial and mining use also exacerbates climate change, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, from draining peat lands and clearing natural forests.

Based on the above situation and future trends, initiatives to address land and water issues in the context of landscapes are urgently needed to be developed and realized. Such initiatives ought to be inclusive and more importantly acknowledging the role of agricultural, industrial and mining production as contributors to problems as well as solutions.

There are an increasing number of commodity companies, linking to international market, that have developed initiatives to mitigate their direct impacts on land and water through supply chain management initiatives. There are also mining companies and associations that produce best management practices and industrial codes regarding land, forest and water management.

These sustainability standard attempt to incorporate indicators that impact social, land and water parameters beyond the production area. But these standards primarily regulate practices in farming, forest and mining concessions so that these concessions or firms can be certified. Areas outside the concessions, including important ecosystems in the buffer zone, wildlife corridors, and land utilized for indigenous communities may not be incorporated or supported.

In the context of a landscape, these corporate sustainability standards contribute to the betterment of environmental management, but only in concession areas. Such standards may leave huge gaps and still lead to undesirable environmental and social impacts for a particular landscape.

Landscapes are patchworks of interlinked pieces of land, ecosystems, water and species (including human). It is, therefore, important for the existing sustainability standards and corporations that are involved in such standards to invite and work together with other corporations, government bodies, organizations and communities to realize a better environmentally managed landscape.

Realizing a healthy mosaic landscape requires a challenging multi-stakeholder approach. This is because ownership of, responsibility for, and impact on a landscape lie in the hands of a multitude of stakeholders.

Also, different stakeholder groups (such as local and regional governments, companies from various sectors, local farmers and communities) can have very different perspectives and thus different incentives to want to look beyond their own direct interest.

Front-runners of sustainability, both from corporations, government bodies and civil society groups, need to join forces so that an initiative to promote sustainability at a landscape level can be realized firmly.

They can act as ‘movers and shakers’ in convening different stakeholders and garnering support from them, building public-private-NGOs-community partnerships as a way to transform agribusiness and energy markets to sustainability, from a bottom-up landscape level.

At a landscape level, for such movement to be successful, a shared-vision and model of sustainable land and water management need to be formulated and agreed by different stakeholders. These vision and model are crucial to be used as the basis for addressing issues and finding solutions at the landscape level.

Government regulations and relevant legal framework and innovative incentives are also imperative to ensure that this landscape initiative can be sustained in a longer term and land users can be supported.

If a sustainable landscape initiative can be matched with existing sustainability standards at the global and national levels, learning, innovation and improvement can be generated and desirable environmental and social impacts can be achieved.

If this is the case, a viable governance model from the landscape to global level that supports sustainable practices is not only considered feasible but may well be one of key solutions that many stakeholders involved in land-related development sectors have been searching for.

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The writer is climate and sustainability specialist, and the new Indonesia Country Director for IDH-The Sustainable Trade Initiative since March 2015. He can be reached at Ardiansyah@idhsustainabletrade.com