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Community forests for climate, people and wildlife

A boy from Durian Rambun village, Sumatra. Credit: Anna Roesinger/FFI.
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Written by: Dorothea Pio
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Fauna & Flora International’s Community Forest Ecosystem Services (CFES) programme creates a direct link between healthy forests and improved well-being of forest-dependent communities. The programme helps Indonesian communities gain legal rights to forests and build the capacity to govern, protect and benefit from them.

Record deforestation

Between 1990 and 2010 Indonesia lost over 24 million hectares of tropical forests, driven primarily by conversion to tropical agriculture. The country has recently overtaken Brazil as having the highest rate of deforestation globally.

A red-naped trogon in Indonesia, one of many species threatened by forest loss. Credit: Zulqarnain Assidiqi/FFI.

A red-naped trogon in Indonesia, one of many species threatened by forest loss. Credit: Zulqarnain Assidiqi/FFI.

The impacts of this trend are not only devastating for forest-dependent species, such as the Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros and orang-utan, but also for local and indigenous people who rely on essential forest resources and services.

Benefits for people, climate and wildlife

Since 2009, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has been helping forest-edge communities secure rights and responsibilities to manage forests sustainably and protect threatened biodiversity and ecosystem benefits while creating opportunities for increased well-being of all community members, especially women.

A Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI.

A Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger. Credit: Jeremy Holden/FFI.

The CFES programme uses the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism to create incentives for local communities to protect and enhance customarily-used but state-owned forests, and ensure the sustainable use of their resources.

REDD+ also allows the programme to invest in community-selected activities to support local development aspirations and contribute to improvements in community well-being.

The programme’s positive impacts will be assured by certification to the Plan Vivo Standard, with project validation scheduled for the end of 2014.

Starting small, thinking big

The programme is beginning in three pilot villages in diverse landscapes on the Indonesian islands of Borneo, Sumatra and Lombok.

Preserving unique, biodiversity-rich forests in Sumatra

Bordering Kerinci Seblat National Park in Sumatra, Durian Rambun village forest provides vital habitat extension for the Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger, the Endangered Malayan tapir, the Endangered Asiatic wild dog and many other threatened species.

Children of Durian Rambun village, Sumatra. Credit: Anna Roesinger/FFI.

Children of Durian Rambun village, Sumatra. Credit: Anna Roesinger/FFI.

CFES is supporting Durian Rambun village community to ensure that forest clearance does not proceed into the project area. The programme focuses on community patrols and improving the productivity of existing agriculture and agroforestry systems to increase well-being and reduce pressure on the forest.

Securing the future of Laman Satong’s last forests for people and wildlife on Borneo

Laman Satong village forest is located between Gunung Palung National Park, Gunung Tarak protection forest and two palm oil plantations in West Kalimantan Province, and is home to a range of IUCN-listed species, including the Endangered Bornean white-bearded gibbon and the Critically Endangered rusty brown dipterocarp tree.

CFES has supported the community of Laman Satong to protect its forest from conversion to palm oil plantation, and continues to empower the community to manage its forest sustainably, protecting its only natural water supply, while fostering an increased role for women in decision-making.

Having avoided conversion to oil-palm, Laman Satong’s village forest still provides water and other vital ecosystem services to local inhabitants, while supporting threatened biodiversity. Credit: Anna Roesinger/FFI.

Having avoided conversion to oil-palm, Laman Satong’s village forest still provides water and other vital ecosystem services to local inhabitants, while supporting threatened biodiversity. Credit: Anna Roesinger/FFI.

Protecting life-supporting watersheds in Lombok

Sitting at the foot of Mount Rinjani volcano on the island of Lombok, Aik Bual village forest is vital for water regulation, erosion control and other services and is home to many species including the Critically Endangered lesser sulphur crested cockatoo and the Endangered Sunda pangolin.

CFES is empowering the Aik Bual community to manage forest resources effectively through forest protection and improvement of community agroforestry, while engaging women in small enterprise development activities that benefit households as a whole.

Rice harvesting in Lombok. Credit: Martin Hardiyono/FFI.

Rice harvesting in Lombok. Credit: Martin Hardiyono/FFI.

Achievements and looking ahead

Many communities are seeking the opportunity to join CFES and FFI is already supporting over 30 additional communities to secure recognised forest rights and develop sustainable forest management in these landscapes.

The IUCN has selected CFES as a programme through which delegates to the IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) can offset the carbon emissions of their travel. 100% of all income generated through offsets against WPC travel will be channelled directly to reward and support sustainable forest management by CFES pilot communities.

Read our programme brief to learn more about CFES.

Written by
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Dorothea Pio

Dorothea Pio works in the Environmental Markets team as a Biodiversity Specialist and is involved in the development and implementation of several REDD+ projects in Indonesia. She has a background in tropical forest ecology and conservation and studied how climate change induced extinctions may impact the tree of life for her doctoral thesis. Before joining FFI, she spent three years working for UNESCO in Indonesia, collaborating closely with the Ministry of Forestry to strengthen protected area management.

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