The tropical rain forests of Indonesia are home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals, and plants — including endangered animals such as Sumatran tigers, orangutans, elephants, and critically endangered Javan rhinoceros. But that habitat continues to shrink.
The palm oil industry is responsible for much of this area’s deforestation. Indonesia is already the world’s largest producer of palm oil, and there are plans to double output over the next few years — accounting for 80% of the world’s consumption. Rain forest land is being slashed and burned at an alarming rate, and the remaining forest is estimated to be destroyed in the next 10 years if nothing is done.
In addition to the loss of trees and habitat, palm oil conversion causes a host of other, often irreversible, ecological problems. This soil erosion, increased sedimentation in rivers, air pollution from forest fires, soil and water pollution from heavy use of pesticides and untreated palm oil-mill effluent, and increasing flood frequency.
Our work with Natural Capital Partners through their Rimba Raya protects nearly 65,000 hectares of carbon-dense, peat swamp forest in the province of Central Kalimantan that was slated for conversion to palm oil plantations — a living example of an economically viable alternative to deforestation. Here, carbon credits protect hundreds of at-risk and endangered animal species, particularly the Bornean orangutan. They also provide access to clean water and health services, foster an understanding of sustainable forest uses, and contribute to the local economy.
In addition to carbon sequestration, this project focuses on community development to improve food security, income opportunities, healthcare, and education for the 2,000 households living within the area. It also integrates mangrove seedling planting to help restore coastal mangrove forests.
This project actively supports the following Global Goals for Sustainable Development: