November 14, 2019
The Bujang Raba project aims to protect 5336 ha of primary rain forest with the help of five local indigenous communities. In 2013, these communities were granted legally recognized rights by the Indonesian government. Protection of the area is estimated to preserve 630,000 tonnes of carbon during 10 years (2014-2023).
Sumatra has seen a large change to the landscape over the recent decades, as rain forest has been replaced by palm oil plantations. Reports of human rights abuses and child labour at these plantations have been numerous. Meanwhile, the environmental changes have resulted in a drier, hotter island, which is exacerbating the situation of local people and endangered species such as the Sumatra tiger, Malaysian bear, and the Rhinoceros hornbill.
The money generated from this project is used to maintain the forest and improve living standards for the surrounding communities. For example, by funding and utilising agroforestry methods, both people and nature can benefit. Rubber trees and coffee plants can generate income, while fruit trees provide food for local people and the wealth of different species living there. Agroforestry areas also include valuable crops such as cardamom, cocoa and other forest products that can be mixed within a biodiverse and sustainable ecological setting. By generating income with these products, there is no need to turn to destructive palm oil agriculture and the forest is preserved.
Participating communities have also come together and formed a sustainability forum, the Communication Forum of Bujang Raba Village Forest Agency.