Sustainable livelihood trainings to increase economic opportunities for people living near high-conservation areas

June 15, 2017

Indonesia Placeholder
Indonesia

Sustainable livelihood trainings to increase economic opportunities for people living near high-conservation areasconservation areas

About the Implementing organization

Name: Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI)

Country: Indonesia

Year of establishment: 2007

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status

Description

Between 1988 and 2004, a period of radical political change in Indonesia, it's estimated that at least 9,000 ha of Gunung Palung National Park were logged or burned, including 38% of the park’s lowlands (Curran et al. 2004; Zamzani 2008). Because of limited livelihood options, people around Gunung Palung National Park turned to illegal logging out of desperation. One hundred percent of the logging households interviewed in 2008 indicated that they would prefer a combination of accessible health care and other work to logging.

ASRI relies on input from communities to provide resources and trainings in alternative livelihood opportunities for villages engaged in logging. Organic farming, livestock husbandry, reforestation, sustainable agro-forestry, and micro-financing of small businesses emerged as community-driven strategies for improving household income while simultaneously promoting human and environmental health. In late 2016 ASRI launched an innovative chainsaw buyback entrepreneurship program. They buy chainsaws from illegal loggers, offer no-interest investment funds to help them transition to less destructive livelihoods, and provide financial management training. ASRI then works with the former loggers as joint business partners, sharing profits and losses until they recover the initial investment. Once the investment is repaid, the loggers assume 100% ownership of the business and ASRI uses the recovered money to fund another group of entrepreneurs.

Nature Element

Forests / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

  

Environmental Impacts

The destruction of habitat has been a direct threat to orangutan populations and other species. But, if we aim to convince rural communities that conservation is a more attractive development path than logging, we must allocate resources to methods that offer people direct social and economic benefits. When ASRI started in 2007, there were 1350 logging households. Our current estimate is that only 180 individuals log, due in part to having fewer medical emergencies (mentioned above) but also due to having increased financial security and diverse ways to earn income.

Sustainable Development Impacts

A follow-up to our baseline survey, conducted in 2012, found that the number of active loggers declined by 68% between 2008-2012. Of those loggers that quit logging, 52% chose to become organic farmers. The survey found that nearly all loggers expressed willingness to quit logging if a viable alternative livelihood was offered. This finding was corroborated by hundreds of recorded instances of our community-based "Forest Guardians" meeting with individual loggers, cultivators, and sawmill owners. One logger summarized the prevailing sentiment: “If there was any other stable work than being a chainsaw operator, that would be better.” Our trainings in sustainable agriculture, livestock husbandry, and reforestation provide local communities with an opportunity to provide this better option for themselves.

Scalability

Listening to the community and adapting programs to address the needs of the community is essential to the long-term success of sustainable livelihood programs. In densely populated Indonesia, trainings and resources in livelihoods which are not dependent on natural resource extraction are necessary components of conservation of ecological areas such as rain forest. Many communities surrounding these high-conservation areas depend on natural resources for income.

Replicability

If instituted with community buy-in, a PA + PES (PA= Protected Area and PES= Payment for Environmental Services) model, which provides payments (incentives) in exchange for communities providing the environmental service of protecting a high-conservation-value area can be very successful worldwide

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