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Managing watersheds for people and nature in Lombok, Indonesia

Mount Rinjani volcano, Lombok. Credit: Anna Lyons/FFI.
Written by: Anna Lyons
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Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is working in partnership with business, government and civil society in Lombok to define and promote integrated ways to manage watersheds to enhance biodiversity, support agriculture and improve livelihoods.

The project partners are British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary Export Leaf Indonesia (PT ELI), the University of Mataram, local development NGO Transform and district and provincial government.

Water and forest resources on Lombok

Agriculture and tourism are the main sources of income for people on the small Indonesian island of Lombok. For over 30 years, smallholder farmers have grown tobacco in rotation with rice and other crops for large tobacco companies, like PT ELI. Tobacco is a major commodity on the island, with over 15,000 farmers growing tobacco on small parcels of land.

Mount Rinjani volcano dominates Lombok, which, together with its rainforest-covered foothills, plays an important role in the island’s climate and hydrological cycles. It has protected status as a National Park.

However, Lombok now faces a water resource crisis because of watershed degradation and deforestation of native forest areas over recent decades. There are multiple drivers: water supply is decreasing, demand is increasing and climate change brings uncertainty.

A rice paddy on Lombok. Credit: Steven Lowe/FFI.

A rice paddy on Lombok. Credit: Steven Lowe/FFI.

Recognising biodiversity risks

In 2007, FFI helped BAT carry out Biodiversity Risk & Opportunity Assessments (BROAs) across their Indonesian growing areas. Two high risks were identified in Lombok: unsustainable wood-fuel use for drying tobacco and water catchment degradation reducing water supply for agriculture. Both are related to biodiversity and ecosystem services, the benefits that ecosystems provide to people.

Thinking big: the Lombok watershed project

Like any company using natural resources, PT ELI has a social responsibility to address its impacts and a business need to address potential risks to its ability to grow crops. However the issue of water catchment degradation cannot be addressed by PT ELI and its farmers alone. Solutions need to be found at a landscape scale – one that considers diverse land uses and benefits, sectors and stakeholders.

Renggung water catchment, where many of PT ELI’s farmers grow tobacco, became the focal landscape for a range of project activities since 2008 all trying to address watershed catchment degradation.

Building on momentum and support, in 2010, the BAT Biodiversity Partnership launched a collaborative project to develop the watershed management plan for Renggung and to show ways to realise the plan across the forested upstream and the agriculture-dominated middle and downstream.

With FFI’s leadership and support, since 2008 the project has already:

• Increased awareness and capacity within PT ELI and other stakeholders to better manage biodiversity and ecosystem services

• Piloted small-scale activities with farmers and community groups to support an integrated approach to watershed management

• Developed the 2013-27 Integrated Watershed Management Plan for Renggung, with Central Lombok District government and through a multi-stakeholder process

• Set up institutions to support watershed management and ensure multi-stakeholder involvement, for example setting up a Central Lombok District Watershed Forum

• Worked directly with communities in degraded critical watersheds to improve agroforestry, land management and livelihoods

Agroforestry is one sustainable landscape management practice that can enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services, support agriculture and improve livelihoods. Credit: Martin Hardiyono/FFI.

Agroforestry is one sustainable landscape management practice that can enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services, support agriculture and improve livelihoods. Credit: Martin Hardiyono/FFI.

By the end of 2015, the project aims to have:

• An integrated watershed management plan that guides sustainable natural resource management in Renggung

• Strong government and civil society institutions at community, village, catchment and district levels to support sustainable management practices

• Contributed to watershed management policy at District and Provincial level

• Worked with communities to show practical ways that watershed forests can be managed sustainably and provide benefits to people, through agroforestry and community forest management

• Shared best management practices with other catchments in Lombok

Learn more about the Lombok project in this brief (PDF), from the case study (PDF) and on the Landscapes for People Food and Nature website.

Written by
Anna Lyons

Anna is a programme manager within Fauna & Flora International’s Business & Biodiversity team, her focus and interest is agricultural commodities. Anna is based out of FFI’s Singapore office, supporting the Asia-Pacific country programmes in their business related activities, particularly Cambodia and Indonesia. She has made frequent visits to Indonesia since her BSc thesis research first took her to the tropical forests of Indonesian Borneo in 2002, where she remained on and off for a further two years. Now, amongst other things, Anna has the tough task of overseeing FFI’s work on the tropical island paradise of Lombok. Anna’s background is in international development and natural resource management, she has an MSc from Oxford in related subjects, and has been working with the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership, an NGO-Private Sector collaboration, since 2007 and continues to do so following her move to FFI in 2009.

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