AFoCO project in Indonesia targets carbon stock enhancement in karsts, mangroves and peatlands

October 13, 2022 — the AFoCO-Indonesia project on “Innovative Solutions for Climate Change and Biodiversity Landscape Strategy to Support SDGs in Indonesia (AFoCO/023/2021)” has seen much progress in 2022. The Center for Standardization of Sustainable Forest Management Instruments (CSSFMI)—the Implementing Agency for the project—convened a Project Progress Meeting gathering national experts to provide updates on the project’s progress.

Participants from the Center for Standardization of Sustainable Forest Management Instruments (CSSFMI) and the AFoCO Secretariat.

The forestry sector has been becoming the biggest contributor to carbon emissions in Indonesia because of deforestation and forest degradation. If the deforestation problem is not resolved, Indonesia will be one of the countries that can trigger climate change. The AFoCO/023/2021 collaboration aims to provide innovative solutions for sustainable management practices and strengthen the capacity of stakeholders, including communities in Forest Management Units (FMUs), to contribute to Indonesia’s emission reduction targets and support the 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs). An FMU refers to a clearly demarcated area whose land cover is dominated by forest and is managed with the aim of fulfilling a set of objectives that are explicitly defined in accordance with the long-term forest management plan. One of the goals of the collaboration between AFoCO and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry through the CSSFMI is to build and develop demonstration plots to increase carbon stocks.

Community empowerment, as one aspect of land restoration, must take into consideration the socio-ecological aspects and the potential contribution to local livelihoods to ensure that community participation in forest management is productive. The selection of the types of plants that are preferred by the community can also be taken into consideration as the sustainable implementation of activities is strongly influenced by the willingness of the community to care for and maintain the demonstration plots. Thus, community involvement is crucial when determining the types of plants to be planted. Early this year, Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRA) were conducted in three target provinces to collect information, build consensus, clarify existing information and gather opinions on plot development issues such as the type of plant preferred by the community, planting intervals, and management system.

The establishment of the demonstration plot has met with great success. Despite the delays brought about by a change in the project site area, the project sites were successfully selected and seedlings of species selected through market analysis and consultations with community stakeholders were planted in the following sites:

  • Peatland ecosystems in Kepau Jaya FMU, Forest with special purpose (FWSP), Kampar Regency, Riau Province
  • Karst ecosystem Bulusarang FMU, Maros District, South Sulawesi Province
  • Mangrove ecosystem in Ampang Plampang FMU, Sumbawa Regency, West Nusa Tenggara

Preliminary data collection suggested a tendency to deforest in the Bulusaraung FMU karst area, accompanied by increased mining and agricultural land. The research team suggests anticipating this by controlling the opening of mining areas according to sustainable environmental principles, encouraging the implementation of post-mining land rehabilitation, and implementing soil conservation rules by prioritizing agroforestry farming patterns. It is recommended that permanent plots be established the permanent plots for the monitoring of biomass, carbon stocks, and carbon sequestration both in non-tower karst and tower karst. The permanent plots should be constructed in the demonstration plot to monitor successful plant growth.

For the mangrove ecosystem in Ampang Plampang FMU, a decrease in primary mangrove forest cover was observed between 2011 and 2021; there was a significant decline in mangroves from 1.40% (1,002.96 ha) of the total FMU area in 2016 to 0.24% (172.16 ha) in 2021.  This decline continued to the predicted Land Use / Land Cover (LULC) in 2031 of 0.21% (151.1 ha) of the total FMU area.  The change in primary mangrove forests was the main contributor to the increase in secondary mangrove forests., which was indicated by the significant growth between 2016 (101.15 ha) and 2021 (967.53 ha). The change in mangrove forests also contributed to the slight increment in fishponds from 2011 to 2021.  The conversion of mangrove forests to fishponds could be triggered by economic considerations of satisfying the increase in food demand and livelihood income due to rapid population growth.  The study recommends that the rehabilitation of forests by forest owners should be an urgent consideration BKPH Ampang Plampang.

Description of project sites provided by Project Coordinator, Ms. Ayun Windyoningrum
Peatland Ecosystem in RiauTwo peatland demo plot locations were initially planned in Kepau Jaya FWSP and Minas Tahura FMU. As the results of the first survey in Minas Tahura FMU revealed that carbon stock enhancement is not relevant in the area as peat in the area was relatively deep (>10 m) and the forest coverage over the area exceeded 95%. Adjustments were then made to relocate the 10-ha demo plot to Kepau Jaya FWSP. 

The seedlings planted were liberica coffee (Coffea liberica), cajuput (Melaleuca leucadendra), Shorea spp, etc. The plot was designed to replace the existing oil palm plantation and provide a form of alternative income while contributing to forest cover increase.
Karst Ecosystem in South SulawesiThe survey in 2021 was conducted in 3 potential sites before Tala-tala hamlet, Bulusaraung FMU, was selected. The pine forests in the area had suffered from a fire.

Planting was designed with an agroforestry pattern using a combination of plant types: forestry (Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni), Red Jabon (Neolamarckia macrophylla), White Jabon (Neolamarckia cadamba), Tanjong (Mimusops elengi), Nyatoh (Palaquium obtusifolium), Ebony (Diospyros celebica)) and MPTS plants (Multi-Purpose Tree Species) in the form of Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), Mango (Mangifera indica), Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis), Durian (Durio), Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), Calliandra and Eucalyptus. A total of 4000 seedlings from the selected species were planted. The seedling survival rate one month after planting was around 87.48%.
Mangrove Ecosystem in West Nusa TenggaraThe demonstration plot is an encroached area of ​​former logging intended for the expansion of aquaculture (illegal fishponds) areas, surrounded by a mangrove habitat with a thickness varying between 10-100 m and ponds on the outside. The soil is black mud soil (clay) with very thick mud, still within the range of the tides, and relatively safe from sea waves, so not much treatment is given during plantation.

A total of 31,000 seedlings of mangrove species (Rhizophora mucronata and R. apiculata) have been planted. The seedling survival rate is more than 90%.
Descriptions of demo plot locations

Aside from the establishment of demonstration plots and analysis of potential commodities, the project also helped to build the capacities of FMU stakeholders through training courses. In 2022, the project trained GIS operators from FMUs and provincial forestry officers in Riau and South Sulawesi on the applications of GIS in supporting the spatial analysis of Indonesia’s FOLU Net Sink 2030 goals. Another training course targeted at carbon stock accounting using the Indonesian National Standard (7724:2019) and how to reduce emissions from the forestry sector was carried out.

In 2023, the third year of project implementation, the Implementing Agency and the Secretariat will cooperate to package, promote and disseminate the project outputs through web articles and policy briefs. A project monitoring exercise is also being planned.

Contributed by Ayun Windyoningrum, AFoCO/023/2021 Project Coordinator and and Policy Analyst, Center for Standardization of Sustainable Forest Management Instruments, Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia; and Emily Marie Lim, AFoCO Program Officer

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