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Rimba Raya debacle casts pall over Indonesian REDD

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
September 13, 2011
Publisher Name: 
Forest Carbon Asia
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The world has eagerly watched as Indonesia pilots public and private investments to curb the country’s massive forest losses while still meeting economic development goals.  But conflicting interests between the nation’s leadership turned ugly last month when a leading forest conservation project in Central Kalimantan was halved to offer a concession to a palm oil company.

Developed in 2008 by InfiniteEarth and the Orangutan Foundation International, the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve REDD Project was designed to conserve 91,000 hectares of tropical rainforest and peat swamp in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.  Over the next 30 years, it would have prevented the release of nearly 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to the rural poor and the Ministry of Forestry.

But the country’s own government turned more than half of those hectares over to a palm oil plantation to feed a longstanding cash cow for the Ministry of Forestry, with potentially devastating implications for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).

“The Rimba Raya case calls into question the true level of Indonesia’s commitment to REDD,” says Todd Lemons, the CEO of the Rimba Raya’s project developer InfiniteEarth.  “That will have a profound effect on investor confidence.”

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Extpub | by Dr. Radut