Combatting Climate Change and Saving Forests in East Kalimantan
Borneo may seem like a long way from Hong Kong, but what happens in Borneo doesn’t just stay in Borneo: you might remember the late 1990s when fires set to clear Indonesian forests created smoke clouds big enough to dim the sun all across Asia.
On this Indonesian island, large areas are deforested every year, releasing massive amounts of climate-change-causing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which ultimately and drastically affect our way of life here at home. Learn how climate change is already taking a toll on Hong Kong.
Surging economies and growing global demand for tropical hardwood, palm oil and minerals have hastened deforestation, which threatens wildlife and has made Indonesia one of the world’s top emitters of carbon pollution. For many local communities, deforestation also means no more timber for housing construction, no more tourism dollars, no more medicinal plants and fewer traditional foods. It can also mean dirty drinking water, since the rivers become polluted from the erosion the trees used to prevent. Plus, a loss of forests can mean a loss of home, identity and culture.
And deforestation also means lost habitat for animals—Bornean orangutans are endangered and, like we humans with whom they share 97% of their DNA, they depend on the forest for their survival. Click here to donate HK$500 per month. Over two years, you could help plant 500 trees, and every tree you plant could generate enough clean air for four people.
REDD-y for Change
In East Kalimantan’s Berau District, the government of Indonesia and The Nature Conservancy have teamed up to combat climate change at one of its sources. The Berau Forest Carbon Program (BCFP) we launched together, with the help of our supporters, will provide Berau’s people with compensation for stewarding their forests in ways that ensure the forests’ survival and prevent their stored carbon from entering the atmosphere—a strategy known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation).
“REDD+ is about reducing deforestation and forest degradation,” says Tri Noegroho, the Conservancy’s Terrestrial Program Director in Indonesia. “That will lead to less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and will help solve the biggest problem ever faced in human history: climate change. REDD+ is an incentive mechanism that will reward people for being more responsible to nature.”
Improving Life in Indonesia
Collaboration is key to keeping the forests of East Kalimantan safe and fighting back against global climate change. The Conservancy is showing a wide range of parties that sustainable forest management yields benefits for people as well as ecosystems.
By providing forestry solutions throughout East Kalimantan, the Conservancy is:
- Identifying forests with high conservation value and helping the government classify them as protected areas.
- Implementing Reduced Impact Logging techniques that will make timber companies both sustainable and profitable and assisting local organizations as they seek certification.
- Giving local communities a say in forest management and providing them with ecosystem and livelihood benefits through conservation and sustainable forest management opportunities.
- Halting the conversion of forests by providing financial and other incentives to encourage land swaps.
- Solving long-standing land tenure issues through improved spatial planning and land allocation.
By introducing smart land use practices to East Kalimantan, we can keep forests safe, and thriving for many generations to come.