In South Sumatra, we protect the remaining forests through intensifying production and rehabilitating degraded land, reduce emissions by preventing peat and forest fires, and improve smallholder livelihoods by intensifying production and improving farming practices.

The province of South Sumatra spans almost nine million hectares in area, is home to endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger, while also being an important production area for globally traded commodities such as palm oil, timber, pulp and rubber.

The recent expansion in commodity production means deforestation rates have been extremely high and natural forest cover has reduced significantly. This coupled with forest fires such as those of 2015 show that there is serious tension between optimizing commodity production to cater for economic prosperity of the region and the forest protection to address climate change and protect species.

Both the private sector as well as the provincial and district level governments understand the urgent need to find a balance between these aspects and are motivated to act.

IDH brought together the public and private stakeholders in a partnership and drove the development of a Green Growth Plan for the province. Through our activities and in collaboration with the provincial and district governments as well as private sector companies, we aim to achieve the following:

  1. Conserve remaining intact forest and peatland thereby protecting species.
  2. Prevent forest and peatland fires and thus avoid future GHG emission and environmental and economic loss.
  3. Restore degraded forest and peatland
  4. Intensify smallholder production and support them in becoming resilient to climate change and price volatility.

Landscape in Facts and Figures

Total land cover:  8.7 million ha
Land designated as forest area: 3.5 million ha
Land with actual forest vegetation: 1.3 million ha
Land designated as peat: 1.4 million ha
Ecological features: Rainforest, peatland, home to
Main causes of forest loss: Deforestation for commodity production, forest fires (eg 2015
forest fire in South Sumatra and Jambi)
Major commodities: Plantation timber, palm oil, pulp and paper 

Program Goals and Activities

The majority of the remaining natural forest is located in the Bukit Barisan range in the far west and south of the province, and in Sembilang National Park in the northeast. IDH’s activities will be in the Sembilang National Park and its surroundings. This is due to the relatively high level of remaining natural forest, the habitat significance for endangered endemic species, the high threats of fire, illegal logging and encroachment and the multi-commodity economic base.

This area contains most of the key commodities for South Sumatra including plantation timber, palm oil and rubber. The development of palm, pulp and other commodities has significantly reduced the forest coverage.   In   this   context,   IDH  sees two  significant opportunities for interventions aiming at production- protection-inclusion:

  1. Conserving and restoring the ‘Protected’ forest and National Park. This is critical as further forest loss will have a very significant impact on habitat viability for endangered species such as the Sumatran Tiger. Conservation can be achieved by improving the productivity of production forest and APL and protection efforts including rehabilitation and restoration.
  2. Reducing emissions by protecting the peatland, restoring and rehabilitating forests and reducing peatland fires.


The district (kabupaten) of Musi Banyuasin is a priority areas for the national and provincial government to pilot meaningful and scientific based rehabilitation, protection and peatland best management practices within South Sumatra due to the combination of a strongly motivated provincial Government and strong private sector actors with sustainability commitments. IDH has convened a Green Growth Plan at the Provincial level with accompanying multi-stakeholder coalition driving the implementation. For that implementation, IDH is developing production- protection-inclusion compacts in the areas where forest and peat protection and/or restoration will take place.

IDH links these compacts to investments in sustainable production and demand for sustainable products. We are piloting the RSPO regional sourcing scheme in South Sumatra, with wide ranging support by government, producers and supply chain companies.


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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