Multi-stakeholder recognition of biodiversity value protects ecological corridors in Indonesia

Mining development in West Kalimantan Essential Ecosystem Zone blocked through support for provincial ecosystem regulations facilitated by IDH  

The Indonesian regencies of Ketapang, Kubu Raya, and Kayong Utara are characterized by valuable but often disconnected patches of forest. IDH aims to reconnect these different forest areas and thereby improve biodiversity in the landscape. Yet, ecological corridors often cross palm oil and forestry concessions, requiring companies to set aside instead of develop part of their land.

West Kalimantan landscape approach forest monitoring© Bea Wiharta

IDH tries to pre-empt this with business cases for conserving rather than developing land for agriculture, forestry or mining. However, a robust framework is needed to govern competing claims on areas that are especially important to the ecosystem, but that are not part of official nature conservation areas. Without this framework in place, companies can legally develop forested areas inside their concessions and plant crops or start mining operations.

One of the solutions is to designate these areas as Essential Ecosystem Areas (Kawasan Ekosistem Essensial, or KEE). IDH has been supporting the province of West Kalimantan and its three focus districts since 2017 to issue and implement the KEE regulations. IDH also mobilized plantation companies and civil society to commit to protecting the areas delineated as KEE. Together with the government they are represented in KEE platforms at regency level.

In 2020, the KEE partnerships in  Kayong Utara and Ketapang withstood pressure from mining companies that wanted to start mining operations in the areas declared as KEE. Supported by IDH’s partners from civil society as well as palm oil companies working with IDH on forest protection inside their concessions, the government requested that the mining companies obey the land’s KEE status. This is seen as a major achievement in the field of multi-stakeholder agreements for enforcement of forest protection policies that was unique in Indonesia.

The provincial government of West Kalimantan has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030 compared to the Forest Reference Emission Level and has introduced several policies and regulations to support achieving the target. The province of West Kalimantan has a remaining forest cover of 2,637,600 hectares (Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 2019). Approximately 2,100,000 hectares of this remaining forest area are located on concession land (forestry, timber, palm oil, mining) or on community-owned land.  

Read more about our landscape approach in West Kalimantan