We are excited to announce a new program at Planet Indonesia: The Friendly Forest Initiative.
In early May, 2015 our staff conducted a site visit to Pulau Limbung. This community is embedded in a network of rivers and wetlands resulting in extreme isolation. High costs of fuel with no access to roads limits the mobility of most individuals with each community owning a few small wooden boats mostly used for occasional trips inland or for fishing.
Most of these "islands" have no access to health care, education, electricity, and have limited amounts of running clean water.
The lack of economic development plus the recent exploitation of palm oil plantations has lead to high levels of poverty and deforestation. We met with communities groups in early May to discuss how Planet Indonesia's market-based approach could serve as a catalyst for development and conserve local culture and resources.
Recently, Bapak Hasbi has joined our team at Planet Indonesia. He has years of experience in developing sustainable, sound, and beneficial agricultural systems. Moreover, he and his wife have moved to Pulau Limbung where she works as a civil servant in the only grade school in the area. His strong ties to the local community have enabled us to mobilize and train locals in agroforestry practices.
Specifically, our innovative Friendly Forest Initiative works to establish small agroforestry business groups. We work with these groups to provide training and cover the upfront costs of converting degraded lands into forests that have value for both nature and local economies. Through our revolving fund these small business groups are able to generate their own income with products from their plantations. Meanwhile, degraded and potentially worthless land is turned back into forest providing benefit for local species and biodiversity. Each farmer is required to return a small number of seeds every year, which we then use to grow seedlings to convert and plant new lands into plantations. This ensures the sustainability of our impact as each small business group can generate their own income, sustain their forestry practices, but also provide market access to those who are interested in joining.
Want to know the impacts? Well here they are:
-1600 family groups targeted
-80% of the public land will be restored to have economic and ecological value
-2000 hectares of empty grasslands restored to forests
-1000 producers generating income
-Decreased carbon emissions