Conservation Compact B: The Gunung Niut Project
About the Implementing organization
Name: Yayasan Planet Indonesia
Year of establishment: 2012
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Legally recognized non-profit status, Women’s association or organization, Indigenous group or organization
This project is a new conservation compact that provides incentives for communities to reforest degraded lands in tandem with creating community-based wildlife patrols and harvest zones in Gunung Niut Nature Reserve. This project is a new extension of Friendly Forest Initiative that also works with indigenous law, community-based forest patrol units, and wildlife ecology. We are targeting 250 households in Gunung Niut Nature Reserve. We will plant 30,000 seedlings (in addition to those previously mentioned) in the buffer zone on degraded lands from previous illegal logging activities. These trees will have benefit for local business (high value fruits and non-timber forest products) as well as provide benefits for local communities. We are also working with these groups to create a new conservation compact to provide a new management system for bushmeat consumption. Finally, we are working with indigenous law to add certain highly endangered species (e.g. orangutan, gibbons, sunbear) to the list of species that may not be consumed by hunters.
Forests / Wildlife
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Climate action
This project has extremely high environmental impacts. First, the 124,000 hectare nature reserve currently has 2 staff protecting from the Indonesian government. We are working to develop a team of 12 that are local villagers who will act as a new forest patrol unit. We are working now with organizations to utilize SMART patrol. Second, on degraded lands we have reforestation (Friendly Forest Initiative) activities that will plant over 30,000 trees. Thirdly, we are using data from our biodiversity surveys to create “no-harvest zones” within the reserve. These areas act as breeding sites for deer, boar, and other bushmeat that are local villages only source of protein. Finally, we are working with local indigenous law to add several critically endangered species (e.g. Bornean orangutan, gibbons, and helmeted hornbill) to the list of species that are not allowed to be consumed.
Sustainable Development Impacts
Gunung Niut is an area of extreme poverty. One major reason is the national Indonesian government created park boundaries that included villages. In other words, villages are sometimes as far as 7-10 kilometers inside the reserve. They are not allowed to expand agricultural practices or build roads, lending to difficulties in product and business. We have been allowed by the Indonesian government to reforest lands around these villages that have been logged with high value fruit and non-timber forest product trees. Therefore, these forests will not only turn degraded lands back into forests but also will provide new sources of income for local business as well as improve food security. Finally, the indigenous people of borneo have no interest in livestock and get all their protein from bushmeat. Our no-harvest take zones stabilizes wildlife populations and creates a hunting season system which will improve local food security.
As previously stated, this communal business group approach in tandem with a conservation compact, can be used anywhere in the world where human poverty is linked with environmental loss. Our communal business approach in tandem with these compacts helps communities overcome the opportunity costs of conservation and ensures fair and equitable development in tandem with responsible resource management and stewardship. Our approach ensures adaptable and fair agreements as every conservation compact facilitated through a communal business group is tailored to the specific needs and requests of a community. We apply this model to primary rainforest conservation, wildlife poaching, and First People’s equity over land tenure. We are currently looking to expand this model to conserve coastal areas and important mangrove habitats in Western Borneo Indonesia.
In many ways this project reveals that our organization is already in the scaling and replicating process. This new work in Gunung Niut represents our organization using our already proven model in new areas. There are two main pathways to scale. First, each communal business group through the revolving fund has the power to grow on its own. In other words, as additional community members see the benefits received by joining the conservation compact, they can also buy-in (50 cent commitment) and join the group, as long as they agree to the stipulations of the specific compact. Therefore, at a village level a program can grow and go to scale on its own. On a larger level, this method can also be replicated. In 2016, we expanded to also address coastal areas (Solution 1 above), which also uses the exact same method (communal business group + conservation compact) but is tailored to the local community.
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