Deforestation is responsible for about 10% of global carbon emissions, but it is also a major part of economic growth in many countries, especially developing ones. How do we protect forests—and their ability to store carbon—while supporting efforts to equitably participate in growing global prosperity? One project in Indonesia is helping The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and our partners test a solution.
Tropical Forests: Lungs of the World and Lifeblood of Local Economies
Forests are one of our strongest tools for tackling climate change. They breathe life into the entire planet, pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and providing oxygen in return. As trees grow, so does the amount of carbon they store. When trees are cut down, not only do they stop removing carbon, much of the stored carbon is released back into the atmosphere. Protecting healthy forests and restoring degraded ones are effective natural climate solutions, also known as nature-based solutions, to global climate change.
Developing revenue streams that sustain—rather than deplete—forest resources is key to protecting them. We already know that strategies such as carbon credits (payments to landowners for carbon storage), alternative livelihoods (e.g., beekeeping, ecotourism or rattan products) and sustainable agriculture can play a role in reducing deforestation.
The question is how do we take these strategies to the scale that is needed to accelerate progress towards global climate goals?
What is a Jurisdictional Approach?
A jurisdictional approach is one that is wholistically implemented across all systems at a level of government: local, provincial, or national.
Shared Goals, Shared Policy: A Jurisdictional Approach
When all stakeholders are held to the same policies that incentivize and regulate sustainable forest management, we accelerate carbon emission reductions. This is a vastly complex endeavor that requires government agencies, forestry operators, and communities to agree on a pathway to shared climate goals, even when their concerns and priorities differ. By taking a jurisdictional approach, leaders can understand landscape and territorial dynamics and challenges, build cross-sector collaboration, hold actors accountable, and distribute benefits equitably.
Since 2008, TNC’s partner in Indonesia, Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN), has helped to design and implement jurisdictional programs in the district of Berau and the province of East Kalimantan. East Kalimantan represents Indonesia’s challenge to balance the conservation of forests with economic growth.
YKAN is helping the Indonesian government to implement the following jurisdictional strategies:
- At national and provincial levels, credibly track, communicate and reward progress through a scientifically rigorous and transparent monitoring, verification and reporting (MRV) system.
- Across the entire jurisdiction of East Kalimantan Province, reduce deforestation through a carbon emissions reduction program.
Jurisdictional Approaches in Action
Oil Palm Plantations and Forest Conservation
The production of palm oil is a key driver of economic development in Indonesia, but oil palm plantations are also driving deforestation. YKAN developed an online database enhanced with satellite imagery and spatial data to improve land use planning, licensing, managing and monitoring of oil palm plantation permits. This helps the government and companies identify forest areas high in species diversity and enables forest protection through policy.
In the Berau district of East Kalimantan, YKAN partners with the district government, academics and the private sector to empower community-led conservation. Launched in 2019, the partnership focused on helping all villages within the jurisdiction achieve their economic and conservation goals through green development and livelihoods that sustain—rather than deplete—their forests. The partnership mobilized village facilitators, who use an asset-based approach called “Communities Inspiring Actions for Change,” or SIGAP. Through capacity building, direct marketing, and microfinancing, SIGAP facilitators help villages develop sustainable revenue streams, such as the production of cacao and jungle rubber. With SIGAP support, across East Kalimantan Province, villages also strengthened their community-forest management skills and secured social forestry licenses. Local villages are managing more than 224,000 hectares of forests as community forest areas.
Indonesia has set an ambitious target to reduce emissions by 29%, or 834 million tons of CO2e, by 2030. And roughly 60%, or 497 million tons of CO2e, is expected to come from the forestry sector. To achieve this goal, we can’t take a piecemeal approach. By working with—and across—entire jurisdictions, we can help to achieve the scale needed to reach Indonesia’s goal to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.