In Aceh, IDH  is committed to avoiding deforestation within the Leuser Ecosystem in the districts of Aceh Tamiang and Aceh Timur. IDH aims to protect 30.000 hectares of high-conservation value forest, while intensifying sustainable commodity production in 13.000 hectares. To do so, we address productivity, traceability and sustainability of agri/aquaculture commodities, in combination with forest and mangrove protection. Priority commodities will include palm oil, coffee, cocoa, and to a lesser extent aquaculture. 

In order to address the issues the landscape program will work closely together with the provincial government (due to strong autonomy), small third parties, local communities and other stakeholders. These partnerships will ensure that the IDH programs can be deployed with maximum effectiveness. The interventions listed at the bottom of the page have been planned by IDH.

Landscape Overview

Aceh is located on the north end of Sumatra, Indonesia. A large portion (56%) of the landmass of Aceh is still covered in natural forest (amongst the highest in Indonesia). The province contains an important, diverse biome known as the Leuser Ecosystem. The map below shows the forest cover in Aceh.


Aceh differs from South Sumatra and West Kalimantan in that geographically, it is dominated by mountainous terrain and highlands. As such, the type of crops and the scale and method of cultivation are also different. In palm oil and forestry, large scale plantations are usually the norm, while in Aceh only 1 large company has concessions in the province. Processing facilities for palm oil, aquaculture and cocoa are also absent from the province. Although palm oil is the dominant industry, smallholders are also engaged in production of cocoa, coffee, rubber, beef and aquaculture. 


Aceh is a province of Indonesia that has lagged behind in terms of development due to separation conflicts and the tsunami of 2004. Recently, Aceh has begun rapid agricultural expansion which is expected to increase as economic growth takes off. As a result, the rate at which forest is being converted to production areas is also increasing and putting pressure on the Leuser Ecosystem.

Another key challenge, or question to address, is how to incentivise relatively small third parties that have little reputational risk from unsustainable practices not to source from producers in recently deforested areas. This entails involving local communities and managing human-wildlife conflict.  

IDH Interventions

In Aceh, IDH will seek to improve productivity, traceability and sustainability of agri/aquacultural commodities in combination with forest and mangrove protection. Priority commodities will include palm oil, coffee, cocoa and to a lesser extent aquaculture.

IDH has planned the following interventions:

1. Green Growth partnerships: IDH will support the development of a Green Growth Plan for the Province of Aceh, but with specific emphasis on the two focus districts. The planning work will include:•

-Agreeing on boundaries for forest areas that can and cannot be cleared, with support from private, public and civil society actors;•

-Identifying and supporting the business case for sustainable development (including provid- ing support for productivity gains, efficiency, link to markets, favourable financing etc. for smallholders and businesses alike); and

• -Strengthening accountability and transparency through improved monitoring, traceability and transparency mechanisms.

2. PPI Partnerships: The development of Production Protection Inclusion partnerships and deals in Aceh will be done in a number of steps:

-Develop partnerships with local government, local civil society, communities and private sector.

-Developing production-protection business cases for specific areas; to ensure that protection is         economically viable, IDH will work with land users and commodity producers to develop a business         case centred on how farm and mill production improvements can compensate for forest not taken into         production, and what other commercial value the forest can have by conserving it or managing it           sustainably.

3. Defining the protection areas and developing a restoration/rehabilitation and/or               management plan: IDH will work with implementers from across commodities to complete the         mapping of HCV and HCS forests, set carbon baselines and to develop effective management plans for       these forests with their managers.

4. Formalizing production and protection plans in production protection agreements: Depending on the location of the forest, protection agreements will be signed with private companies,communities and/or government, and it is expected that protection would be delivered in return for production or other support (e.g. training or investment to improve productivity, efficiency, traceability etc).


Fitrian Ardiansyah

Country Director IDH Indonesia

phone+62 (0) 21 2952 9853

e-mailemail me

Daan Wensing

Program Director, ISLA

phone+31 (0) 6 1588 3096

e-mailemail me

Manizha Korodiva

Communication Officer, ISLA

phone+31 (0) 30 230 5660

e-mailemail me

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