Peatlands – the biggest carbon sink on earth
The project protects 47 237 hectares of uninhabited peat swamp forest on the southern coast of Borneo, Central Kalimantan. Despite the fact that peatlands cover only about 3% of our planet’s land, they store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests.
Without the project, the peat forest would have been converted to palm oil plantations, devastating the land through logging, draining and burning. Land conversion is turning peatlands from the greatest carbon sinks on the planet into the biggest sources of carbon. According to the
The peat swamp forest in the project area is not only a huge carbon sink, it’s also a home to an orangutan sanctuary and to 50 other endangered species. Without the project, it’s quite likely this fragile habitat would’ve been destroyed under another palm oil plantation.
This problem is especially acute for Indonesia, as the country produces more than half of the world’s palm oil. Palm oil is widely used in the food sector, cosmetics, biofuels and energy, animal feed, and pharmaceuticals. As the demand for palm oil is soaring this puts more pressure on tropical rainforests as the palm oil is biologically limited to the tropics. Tropical rainforests are not only biodiversity hotspots but also a home of forest communities whose lands face the threat of being appropriated by the palm oil companies.
Measurable climate, community and biodiversity impacts
Progress is measured for all 17 SDGs. In addition, the project has achieved Triple Gold level under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard, meaning that it provides exceptional benefits in climate change adaptation, supporting local communities and protecting and enhancing biodiversity.
Protecting the peat swamp forest from conversion into oil palm plantation will result in reduced emissions in the project accounting area totalling 104 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the project duration of 30 years. In addition to protecting forest, the project improves the health and integrity of water-related ecosystems, increases biodiversity and ecosystem strength by replanting 504 hectares of peat swamp and 20 000 mangrove trees. Fire risk is mitigated by protecting 15 187 hectares through community firefighting.
Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve increases income of local communities by enabling access to employment with above-poverty salaries, diversifying income sources and providing grants for small-scale food producers incl. 12 women-owned chicken and shrimp paste companies. The project also improves the living conditions of local people by increasing access to affordable energy, clean water, health services, community infrastructure, and higher education for students with financial needs.
The project area is a biodiversity hot-spot and a home of 54 Critically Endangered and Endangered species, with 40 additional species listed as Vulnerable and likely to be present in the project area. Wildlife is monitored via 25 cameras installed in the project area. With the help of the Orangutan Foundation International, a project partner and a beneficiary, 25 orangutans have been released from the orangutan care facility into the project area. The project is also designed to protect the Tanjung Puting National Park, bordering the project area on the west, by creating a physical buffer zone.
Community impact in numbers
73 local people were employed directly by the project, with an average salary 300% higher than the national poverty line, and over 200% higher than the Seruyan minimum wage.
Average of 60 seasonal or activity-based employees contracted annually to help with the project implementation.
1,794 households (61%) across 9 villages have access to solar power through the distribution of solar lanterns and the construction of 1 solar power plant.
2,173 households ( 74%) across 9 villages in the project zone have improved access to clean water due to the project's provision of free water filtration systems at the household level and the installation of 1 community water purification system.
316 people treated (vaccines, medicines) by the floating clinic, across 7 different villages; 201 women received access to medical services; 168 reading glasses distributed.
24 scholarships; 2 libraries, increased access to books and internet.
First project to register to the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard, contributing to all 17 SDGs, and maintaining its Triple Gold ranking under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard.