Project Proponent: InfiniteEARTH
Start Date: 2008
Estimated Annual Emissions Reductions: 3,527,171 tCO2e
Region/Country: Indonesia, Central Kalimantan
Project Description: The Rimba Raya Project (also known as the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve) is located in a 64,000-hectare forest on the southern coast of Borneo and home to hundreds of at risk species. Run by InfiniteEARTH, Rimba Raya is the world’s largest initiative to protect and preserve High Conservation Value (HCV), lowland tropical peat swamp forests – one of the most highly endangered ecosystems in the world.
Located in the province of Central Kalimantan, the project is also designed to protect the integrity of the adjacent world-renowned Tanjung Puting National Park by creating a physical buffer zone on the full extent of the ~90km eastern border of the park. Rimba Raya is rich in biodiversity, including several flagship species such as the endangered Bornean orangutan, Clouded Leopard, Gibbon, Proboscis Monkey and Asian Sun Bear.
Impact on Reducing Deforestation
In 2007, the project area was under imminent threat of planned deforestation and was gazetted by the provincial government to be converted into four palm oil estates. After a multi-year legal battle with the surrounding palm oil companies, the area was officially re-designated as a Conservation Forest resulting from InfiniteEARTH successfully acquiring Indonesia’s first “Ecosystem Conservation & Restoration” concession license. To protect the reserve, the Rimba Raya team patrols the area and specifically the concession border at least once a month to check for encroachment by illegal loggers.
Today, Rimba Raya is one of the largest REDD+ projects in the world, in terms of net emissions avoidance delivered. The project has an expected 120+ million tons of avoided emissions over 30 years (the lifespan of the project).
Rimba Raya provides alternative income streams that reduce the local community’s dependence on forest products through capacity building, investments in micro-finance and programs that provide basic necessities such as education and healthcare. Communities take the lead in determining which enterprises will have the greatest impact and should therefore be funded.
With funds from REDD+ credit revenues, InfiniteEARTH has:
- Developed a community-based program to plant almost 300,000 trees and create diversified income opportunities through native cash crop species such as natural latex, natural chewing gum, fruit trees, rice and essential oils on previously degraded land within the Reserve.
- Distributed “appropriate rural technology” (ART), low-maintenance, ceramic water filters to each and every household in the project area. These filters are coated with colloidal silver, which kills 99.98% of pathogens from unsanitary water. By supporting widespread distribution of enhanced water filters, the Rimba Raya project is eliminating a chronic health issue in the communities and is further reducing the pressures on the reserve’s forests from the daily collection of fuel wood used for boiling water.
- Piloted the distribution of fuel-efficient, smokeless cookstoves to 100 households in the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve. Due to economic development, the project is now planning on introducing a gas stove initiative, supported by shop owners who receive microfinance grants and who will supply the gas.
Installed solar panels for over 2,500 households and provided more sophisticated solar systems for community centers.
Developed chicken farms and shrimp-processing facilities which employ women through a cooperative and provide additional sources of protein to local communities.
- Provided school supplies, uniforms, books and pocket money to the children in all 14 villages, 3 year scholarships to 24 students, and funding for 2 libraries.
- Built a floating clinic that just recently (mid 2019) conducted an outreach program to seven of the most remote villages offering vital medical care and supplies to the most needy.
- Built an orangutan release platform and wooden boardwalks into the forest, giving easier access to swamps in the interior of the Reserve allowing for more successful releases than what is possible near human settlements.
- Ran several waste and plastic clean-up programs that have significantly reduced waste pollution in villages surrounding the concession and in the Seruyan River whose watershed is the national park.
Additional Impacts (e.g., finance mobilized)
Rimba Raya’s greatest impact has been the diversification of the income streams of local communities which has enabled them to move away from shifting agriculture, illegal logging and unsustainable fishing practices, and transition to a more productive and less extractive relationship with the forest. InfiniteEARTH is actively seeking to create new markets for the carbon credits resulting from its conservation activities by working with a partner to embed tokenized credits into blockchain supply chain management tools.
Contribution to National Climate Goals
The Rimba Raya Biodiverity Reserve aims to contribute to Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (national climate plans), in particular the forestry-related goals by reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Rimba Raya reports the project’s emission reductions to the government, including its work on deforestation hotspots, land use change, fire prevention and fire fighting activities. As a buffer zone to the Tanjung National Park, Rimba Raya works closely with the local government and police, as well as National Park staff to prevent encroachment into the project area and the national park as much as possible.
Rimba Raya is developing livelihood programs in 14 villages that surround the Reserve that address all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and that provide financing for education, literacy, community farms, micro enterprises, employment, healthcare, tree planting, technology, water filters, solar power, fish farms, fire fighting and prevention, biodiversity monitoring and orangutan conservation and release sites, among other community initiatives.