In areas that have suffered from destructive actions, the Katingan Project seeks to restore and rehabilitate fundamental ecosystem functions. In practice, this means managing water systems to maintain the water level of the peat swamp forest inside the concession area, monitoring and measuring sampling plots, rehabilitating non-forest areas by planting native tree species, and carrying out monitoring (e.g. patrols) and forest fire prevention and control activities.
Many communities in Katingan depend on non-timber forest products to earn a living, but also for food and for medicine. This is how for generations, local people have collected jelutung and dammar saps, gemor bark, purun and mushrooms in the area, supplemented with wildlife hunting to complement their food needs. Such practices typically do not pose a direct threat to the ecosystem. In fact, with a little bit of support they can turn into more viable businesses that can help communities to develop sustainably—and this is where the Katingan Project intervenes. We are:
Agroforestry in the project’s buffer zone is all about combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock. There are multiple benefits to this approach—increased crop productivity, soil fertility, but also in terms of biodiversity, habitat connectivity and environmental services. However, as the area consists of peat, careful thought needs to go into planning agroforestry, both to ensure the integrity of the core protected area and to ensure the economic viability of the plantations. The project will provide expert technical advice on the establishment of small-scale plantations of crop species that are compatible with undrained peat soils – species such as jelutung, rubber and rattan.
By integrating tree planting with crop production, agroforestry will play an important role in securing local livelihoods, while increasing vegetation cover and biodiversity on farmlands and taking pressure off the forest inside the concession area. Seed types to be planted will vary and include both native and non-native species, as crop selection will prioritize commercially valuable species such as rubber, jelutung, fruit trees and other cash crops. This will be done in consultation with communities in the project zone in order to reflect local needs and preference.
In this way, agroforestry can provide income and an incentive for farmers to prevent peat fires and also limit the entry of outsiders, including illegal loggers. Since 2009, Katingan Project partner Puter Foundation has been promoting agroforestry among local farmers of several villages, with a focus on rubber cultivation. Similarly, since 2012, Puter has been working with women of Telantang Hilir village to empower them through improved rattan production capacity: funds for purchasing rattan seedlings, developing small processing facilities with equipment, providing training to create finished products such as baskets and small furniture, and creating access to markets in Sampit, other large cities in Indonesia, as well as the United States and Europe.
With the Puter Foundation, the Katingan Project aims to stimulate the village economy by providing local women with access to sustainable financing to promote their small enterprises. This program will support participating small groups to design, establish, and run microfinance institutions and enterprises through revolving loans that will fuel the development of kiosks, chicken farms and aquaculture, among other ventures. The program has already been successfully piloted in a number of villages and is now being scaled up to all villages surrounding the site. Through this initiative, it is expected that communities living around the concession area will be able to engage in environmentally sustainable economic activities; improving livelihoods while also protecting their culture and traditional practices.
In remote areas that are beyond the reach of the electricity grid, the easiest source of fuel for energy needs is wood. To ensure that people’s legitimate needs don’t undermine this fragile ecosystem, the Katingan Project plans to promote the use of efficient and renewable energy sources. The goal? Increase energy efficiency and the number of communities that have access to cleaner, renewable energy, and to reduce the amount of fuelwood consumption. The Katingan Project has begun working with communities to test some renewable energy devices and systems, such as biomass cook stoves and solar lanterns, in cooperation with Indonesian Technological Innovation Foundation and the Kopernik Foundation.
Stay updated with what is happening with the Katingan Project by signing up to our occasional email updates.