Our facilitation on the issuance of 7,004 ha Pematang Gadung Village Forests, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Our facilitation on the issuance of 7,004 ha Pematang Gadung Village Forests, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Indonesia - 13 July, 2021

On 4 March 2021, Directorate General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership (DG SFEP) on behalf of Ministry of Environmental and Forestry (MoEF) has submitted the Management Right of Village Forest (Hak Pengelola Hutan Desa/HPHD) to the Village Forest Management Unit (Lembaga Pengelola Hutan Desa) of ca. 7,004 ha, in which is its ca. 4,093 ha is located on the Permanent Production Forest, while ca. 2,911 ha is located in the Convertible Production Forest, over 35 years, in which each 5 years will be evaluated.  

This moment is the end of about 10 years journey of long facilitation over the forest.  It is back in 2011, Flora and Fauna International (FFI) had initiated the proposition of the forests to social forestry program, together with the two neighbouring forest areas (Sungai Pelang and Sungai Besar Villages) located within a so-called Pelang Landscape. 

On 15 February 2016, the defined working areas (Penetapan Area Kerja/PAK) has been issued, meaning that within 2 years those who received the PAK have to complete the submission, such as submission of the Head of Village Decree on Village Forest Management Unit etc. to receive the Management Right of Village Forest (HPHD). 

Pematang Gadung Village which was received of defined working areas (PAK) of (ca. 14.415 ha) had no interest to follow the process as they were still highly interest on illegal gold mining in those areas. It is different with the neighbouring forests areas (Sungai Pelang and Sungai Besar) who submitted the remaining requirements, then Sungai Besar received their Management Right of Village Forest (6,522 Ha) on 30 October 2017, while Sungai Pelang to receive Pelang (540 ha) on 17 December 2017.

In 2018, Tropenbos Indonesia (TI) has started working in the Pelang landscape, we started assessing carbon stock in the Pematang Gadung Peat Swamp Forest (PGPSF) together with Wetlands International. Our findings show that a Results Based Payment (RBP) REDD+ program in PGPSF has great potential for delivering financial flows to local communities who subsequently are incentivized to foster conservation and peatland management. The intervention scenario of a REDD+ program and associated land conversion has the potential to avoid 13,6 million tCO2-e emissions from 2019 to 2041, or nearly 600,000 tCO2-e per year on average. Based on a price of 1 USD per tCO2-e, the potential RBP incentive could be USD 600,000 USD on average per year from 2020 till 2041. Although 1 USD per tCO2-e already demonstrates avoiding GHG can be profile table, it is argued that the value of carbon credits should be between 40-80 USD per tCO2-e (World Bank, 2017). This shows that carbon emission reduction projects provide huge income opportunities for communities and governments.
Unfortunately, only two of the three villages (Sungai Pelang and Sungai Besar) having their Village Forest Management Bodies, while Pematang Gadung Village has not. As they are also becoming a big question of other NGOs, such as YIARI and FFI who have no direct control over the forest management at all, then TI will have to focus on this aspect.

In January 2019, TI started, using the power of local champions, to build engagement with Pematang Gadung Village. In March 2019, TI facilitated the meeting involving about 100 persons, attended by Village Head and Village Representative Body to discuss the interest into Social Forestry Program.  They basically still have interest to Social Forestry, but the area should be adjusted to the recent existing condition, as the preliminary forest situation (ca. 14,415 ha) has been largely degraded due to illegal gold mining, so they have to submit the consolidated forest, so there will be little efforts to restore the forests. 
After some facilitations, we finally agreed with ca. 7,156 ha. Then the Village Head issued Village Regulation on the establishment of Village Forest Management Unit, and the Village Head issued the degree on Village Forest Management Unit. Those together with new proposed map was then submitted to the MoEF on 24 June 2019. 
MoEF/DG SFEP has conducted field verification on 25 February 2020, DG SFEP also asked to TI and YIARI to have committed on the facilitation process in September 2020.
TI have committed to facilitate Pematang Gadung Village Forest to improve the governance within forested areas, we will facilitate the establishment and execution of long and short terms of workplan, and together with Sungai Pelang and Sungai Besar Village Forests will facilitate them to receive Payment for Environmental Services (PES) from Lestari Capital. (EP)