The Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP) was launched in January 2010 as one of four official REDD+ demonstration activities in Indonesia (Masyhud 2010). Its objective was to “demonstrate a credible, equitable, and effective approach to reducing GHG emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, including from the degradation of peatlands…” (IAFCP 2009, 2). It officially ended in June 2014.

Among the Indonesian REDD+ initiatives included in the CIFOR-GCS sample, KFCP was the most advanced in terms of field implementation. That was because the initiative had substantial up-front funding and did not require a concession license for the intervention area (cf. Katingan in Chapter 18 and Rimba Raya in Chapter 20). However, KFCP became highly politicized and attracted (often unfavorable) media attention at the local, national and international levels. The proponent organization stayed mostly silent as allegations about their negative impacts on indigenous peoples and ineffectiveness in reducing emissions became widespread. Our field observations suggest that some of these negative public perceptions were unfounded. Thus, this case highlights the importance of a clear communication strategy for large, high-profile REDD+ initiatives such as KFCP.

This chapter draws upon primary data from three sources. First, we conducted household and village-level surveys in four settlements, consisting of two villages (desa) and two hamlets (dusun), where 131 of 683 households were interviewed in late 2010. All tables and figures are based on these survey data. Second, we interviewed key informants in various organizations in 2011–2013. Third, we studied the ways local people use peatlands and local people’s perceptions of REDD+ and KFCP, from 2010 to 2012. This study yielded deeper qualitative insights through structured and semi-structured interviews, field observations and informal dialogues in five communities, including three of the communities where we conducted household surveys.

17.1 Basic facts: Where, who, why and when

17.1.1 Geography

The KFCP initiative was located in Kapuas district, Central Kalimantan province, Indonesia (see Figure 17.1). The intervention area covered 120,000 ha, bounded by the Kapuas River (west) and Mentangai River (east). KFCP’s southernmost boundary was located approximately 100 km from the coast of the Java Sea, at an altitude of 5–10 masl (Applegate et al. 2012). Average rainfall between 1991 and 2010 was 2805 mm/year (BMKG 2010). In 2009, there were 2401 households and 9007 people living in the 14 settlements (villages and hamlets) targeted by KFCP (CARE 2009). These villages were selected because their territories overlapped with the KFCP intervention area.


Figure 17.1 Map of the KFCP REDD+ initiative.

Data sources: AusAID (KFCP), GADM, KFCP and World Ocean Base.

The KFCP intervention area was part of the Ex-Mega Rice Project (EMRP) area. This was the site of a large-scale land conversion project known as the Mega-Rice Project (MRP) or the million-hectare rice project.1 The project was implemented in 1996–1997, covered 1,050,400 ha and built 1145 km of primary drainage canals (BAPLAN 2008). Despite its ambitious objectives, the project established only 30,000 ha of rice paddies. The EMRP area was divided into blocks. The southern part of KFCP was in EMRP Block A. There, a network of smaller canals and ditches had been built, leading to serious peatland degradation. The northern part of KFCP was in EMRP Block E, where peatlands were relatively intact because canals had not been built. From the 1970s until 1995, 15 large timber companies operated in these areas, although they ceased operations when the MRP took over (Suyanto et al. 2009; Galudra et al. 2010). They extracted timber from their own concessions and contracted local people to supply timber felled outside of their concessions. Local people extracted timber using small, hand-dug tatas (ditches 1–2 m wide to access the forest), which contributed to peatland degradation through drainage (Hooijer et al. 2014).

17.1.2 Stakeholders and funding

KFCP’s proponent was the Indonesia–Australia Forest Carbon Partnership (IAFCP), a bilateral partnership between the Government of Indonesia, represented by Indonesia’s National Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) and MoFor, and Australia, represented by AusAID and the Department of Climate Change (Barber et al. 2011). The steering committee included high-level governmental institutions such as BAPPENAS, the provincial Government of Central Kalimantan, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Australia’s Department of the Environment (IAFCP 2012a). The IAFCP officially ended in June 2014, along with KFCP.

As a demonstration activity, KFCP did not have plans to sell carbon offset credits in the voluntary or any future compliance markets. KFCP received all of its financial support from Australia and in-kind contributions (staff time, political and logistical support) from the Government of Indonesia. The Australian funding was mostly from AusAID, disbursed through AusAID to IAFCP, totaling AUD 37.47 million (personal communication from Siran, 2014).2 This is large compared to other REDD+ initiatives in Indonesia. AUD 8.4 million was set aside for a trust fund to be managed by the World Bank for a future performance-based payment mechanism (Barber et al. 2011; Purnama et al. 2014). After IAFCP ended in 2014, the fund was no longer available for performance-based payments as originally intended, because the Australian Government re-allocated it to PNPM (personal communication from Siran, 2014).

IAFCP partnered with many institutions, including CARE Indonesia (CARE), Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation, Universitas Palangkaraya (UnPar), Deltares, Remote Sensing Solutions and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) (IAFCP 2012a). In its first two years (2010–2011), KFCP was run mostly by staff seconded from CARE and BOS, supported by consultants. Later, IAFCP hired more staff to create a larger KFCP team. Two prior conservation and peatland rehabilitation projects were located in the KFCP site. The Central Kalimantan Peatland Project (CKPP) aimed to protect and rehabilitate peatlands. It was a partnership of the Government of Central Kalimantan, UnPar, Wetlands International, CARE, WWF-Indonesia and BOS (CKPP 2007). BOS also ran a separate orangutan conservation program called Mawas before, during and after KFCP. They managed large tracts of peatland forests for orangutan research and release within parts of the KFCP intervention area and in an adjacent area across the Mentangai River.


Farmer checks his blocks of rubber latex, preserved in the river for future sale. Local communities negotiated for more support for rubber cultivation from KFCP, an important source of cash income in the area. (Yayan Indriatmoko/CIFOR)

17.1.3 Motivation

In 2007, the Indonesian president and Australian prime minister announced a climate change agreement that later evolved into KFCP (Olbrei and Howes 2012). It was located in the EMRP because it is the largest area of degraded peatlands in Indonesia and was prioritized for rehabilitation under Presidential Instruction No.2/2007 (Australia Indonesia Partnership 2009). Like other REDD+ initiatives in Central Kalimantan that we review in this book (the Katingan project in Chapter 18 and Rimba Raya project in Chapter 20), the majority of the carbon stock is below ground in the peat soil, and the initiative covers an entire peat dome.3 But unlike them, KFCP is located within the EMRP, where reducing ongoing GHG emissions from peatland degradation was prioritized over avoiding future degradation. The main sources of ongoing emissions were annual peat fires and continual peat decomposition on degraded and deforested peatlands (IAFCP 2009). Canals and tatas drain peat soils, which dry up, decompose and become prone to fire. Peat fires inhibit natural succession, increase the probability of future fires and are almost impossible to extinguish. This leads to peatland degradation that cannot be reversed without external intervention.

While the KFCP intervention strategy focused on reducing these ongoing emissions from fires, canals and tatas, there were other sources of forest degradation and emissions. First, logging in the EMRP continues although it has declined due to depleted timber stocks and a ban on illegal logging (GoI 2005). Second, the local government planned to build a road from the north to the south of the KFCP area, along the Kapuas River, which was a potential future driver of carbon emissions because it would create new access to forested areas that could lead to peatland degradation. The large-scale conversion of forest to oil palm that is of central concern to other REDD+ initiatives in Central Kalimantan was also taking place around the KFCP site.

17.1.4 Timeline

IAFCP conducted a framework design mission from late 2007 until early 2008. The PDD, published in 2009, divided the implementation timeline into ‘early implementation’ (January–June 2009) and ‘full implementation’ (July 2009–December 2012) (IAFCP 2009). KFCP was subsequently extended until June 2014. In May 2009, IAFCP commissioned a baseline socioeconomic survey, implemented by CARE, ICRAF and GRM International (IAFCP 2012b). An office was established in Palangkaraya, the capital of Central Kalimantan in September 2009. In January 2010, KFCP was officially launched by MoFor as one of four official REDD+ demonstration activities in Indonesia (Masyhud 2010). We consider early 2010 as the start of KFCP field implementation, as this was when KFCP deployed community engagement specialists in the villages.

In our view, the highlight of KFCP field implementation was the signing of village agreements between each target village and KFCP. The agreements were signed from May until June 20114 and were valid until June 2013. In September 2013, the agreements were extended until June 2014 for all but two villages that opted out. Between the first village agreement in 2011 and the end of KFCP in 2014, AUD 2.7 million was disbursed to villagers to implement various work packages (Week et al. 2014).

As part of MRV of emissions reductions, a light detecting and ranging (LiDAR) survey was carried out from July 2010 to June 2012 (Balhorn et al. 2014). Additionally, KFCP monitored the peatland soils, hydrology, fires and ecology (Cochrane 2013; Ichsan et al. 2013; Graham and Mahyudi 2014). At the time of KFCP’s closing workshop in June 2014, an REL was still being determined. Figure 17.2 outlines the initiative’s key activities from framework design to finish.


Figure 17.2 Timeline of the KFCP REDD+ initiative.

17.2 Strategy for the initiative

KFCP’s strategies reflect significant attention to reducing peatland degradation, which was the site’s major source of emissions. There were three main interventions: (i) blocking canals and tatas ditches to raise the water table and rewet the peat to inhibit oxidation and spread of fire; (ii) re-establishing tree cover in highly degraded areas; and (iii) introducing livelihood interventions to provide incentives for people to adopt farming techniques or introducing other livelihood options that do not require the use of fire in peatlands or that reduce dependence on illegal logging (IAFCP 2009).

KFCP’s primary objective was to provide lessons for and demonstrate the viability of REDD+ implementation. Although not explicitly expressed as a goal, in our view their activities produced co-benefits for livelihoods (e.g. supporting rubber garden/agroforestry establishment), governance (e.g. improved financial transparency), science (e.g. research on peatlands), local capacity (e.g. through training and workshops) and biodiversity (e.g. research on peatland ecology; reforestation with local species). Emission reductions from the project had not been quantified at the time of writing.

Because KFCP did not plan to sell carbon offset credits in voluntary or any future compliance markets, they did not seek certification from organizations such as CCBA or VCS. They adhered to the World Bank’s safeguards policy because they put funds in the World Bank’s trust fund, and were obliged to follow the financial, legal, social and environmental guidelines of the Australian and Indonesia Governments (Barber et al. 2011; Purnama et al. 2014). In addition, they were closely scrutinized by local, national and international environmental and indigenous rights groups.

KFCP’s interventions to support alternative livelihoods and reduce emissions were mostly implemented with villagers. Each participating village entered into a contractual agreement (“village agreement”) with KFCP. Under this agreement, KFCP provided benefits to individuals (e.g. payments for work or free materials), households (e.g. alternative livelihood programs) and communities (e.g. village retention fund for projects included in the village development plan). Benefit-sharing at the district and provincial levels was mainly non-monetary, in the form of capacity building and improved multilevel linkages.

Under the village agreements, KFCP and local communities agreed on a set of work packages. Each village formed institutions consisting of villagers, called TPK (Tim Pelaksana Kegiatan, activity implementation team) and TP (Tim Pengawas, monitoring team), to implement and monitor these work packages. Each agreement contained two types of work packages. The first type was specifically for emissions reductions, such as establishing seedling nurseries, reforestation and tatas blocking activities. KFCP provided technical guidelines, monitoring and financial support, while communities provided materials, labor and other services. All of the communities were engaged in establishing nurseries and producing seedlings, which were later used in reforestation. Reforestation and tatas blocking were conducted in deep peat soils, generally on remote lands not claimed by households, and in select villages where tatas and degraded peatlands were found. The second work package was centered on livelihoods, and was implemented in every village with a village agreement with KFCP. Villages negotiated to include the type of support they wanted, such as rubber cultivation, agroforestry or rearing of small livestock (e.g. chickens, fish). Households could choose among the various available livelihood packages. KFCP provided technical and financial assistance, production inputs (e.g. seedling stock, fertilizer) and monitoring to support 1 ha per household. Each household provided unpaid labor and allocated land that they controlled.

Village agreements took months of negotiation with each village, and were the source of debate, and sometimes conflict, among community members. When work packages were being implemented, the budget for an ongoing activity was displayed in public locations in each village (e.g. village hall). Residents could then judge, for example, whether they had received the number of seedlings promised, or whether the budgeted prices were higher or lower than the market prices. Payment schedules for work packages were also widely understood, as several households complained to us when they felt they did not receive their payments on time. We also found that KFCP offered villagers prices for products and services (e.g. boat rental, guide fees) that were higher than those offered elsewhere, driving these prices up for other institutions who used the same services (e.g. CIFOR). Residents that were temporarily migrating were included in the second KFCP village agreements.5

Outside of the village agreements, KFCP held numerous training events in the villages, and supported villagers and local government officials to attend workshops and meetings at the subdistrict, district, provincial and national levels. Women were encouraged to attend, but it was difficult to overcome strong patriarchal tendencies in communities that discouraged them. KFCP also helped each village produce development plans required for requesting funding from government and non-governmental sources. According to the village leaders we interviewed, these would have been difficult to produce without KFCP’s support as they are highly technical documents.

KFCP also facilitated the formation of hutan desa (village forest) in at least three villages, and supported the development of a forest management unit for conservation (FMU-C). The hutan desa is a type of forest management status granted to villages on state forested lands. This status has been sought by other REDD+ initiatives in Indonesia (e.g. KCCP in Chapter 19), as a way of strengthening the community’s rights to manage forests. FMUs are forest management entities of MoFor. The creation of FMUs is being prioritized by MoFor as a way of improving forest management (DWPPAPKH 2014; Kepala Biro Perencanaan Kehutanan 2014).

Like many other villages in Indonesia, these communities get development support from national programs such as the Rural PNPM and a village budget (Anggaran Dana Desa/ADD). There were sector-specific programs from the ministries of agriculture (e.g. seedlings, livestock), forestry (e.g. reforestation), and public works (e.g. irrigation canals). Due to the history of environmental degradation and land conflicts in the EMRP area, communities had long-term working relationships with NGOs (e.g. Yayasan Petak Danum/YPD, Walhi), which brought information and small projects into the area. We observed that many villagers, including village leaders, had initial misgivings about ‘outsiders,’ including foundations, NGOs and researchers, due to their long exposure to development projects in the EMRP area. They were skeptical that these initiatives could offer real and lasting benefits, and stated that they suspected they were just moneymaking schemes for each institution. As outsiders ourselves, we were also asked in village meetings and interviews about how our research could benefit the community. We observed the same questions were posed to other outsiders. The need to ensure outsiders bring benefit (or at least do no harm) was more prominent at KFCP than in other REDD+ initiatives we studied in Indonesia.

17.3 Smallholders in the initiative

This section discusses key findings from household and village-level surveys, to illustrate the livelihoods and role of local communities in REDD+ implementation. The surveys were conducted in June–August 2010, very early in KFCP’s implementation phase. At the time, almost all respondents had never heard of KFCP or REDD+. We randomly sampled 131 of 683 households (19.2%) in four settlements (KAP1 to KAP4) out of 2401 households in 14 settlements in KFCP (0.5%). KAP1 and KAP2 were adjacent communities in Block E, the relatively conserved area of KFCP. KAP3 and KAP4 were adjacent communities in Block A, the degraded portion of KFCP. Estimated sizes of our study villages ranged from approximately 5000 to 23,000 ha.6 Characteristics related to household well-being and forest dependence are summarized in Tables 17.1 and 17.2.

Table 17.1 Socioeconomic characterisitcs of households interviewed in 2010.





Number of households sampled





Household average (SD)

Number of adults

2.8 (1.3)

2.8 (1.0)

2.4 (0.7)

2.4 (0.9)

Number of members

4.5 (1.8)

5.0 (2.2)

4.2 (1.8)

3.8 (1.4)

Days of illness per adult

13.3 (19.1)

15.1 (25.6)

7.3 (10.8)

13.0 (22.5)

Years of education (adults ≥ 16 years old)

4.7 (2.4)

3.9 (2.7)

4.7 (2.5)

6.0 (3.2)

Total income (USD)a


2,180 (1,539)

1,419 (829)


Total value of livestock (USD)b

58 (159)

49 (108)

8 (12)

18 (32)

Total land controlled (ha)c

3.4 (5.1)

26.9 (86.9)

7.8 (21.8)

7.8 (11.7)

Total value of transportation assets (USD)

234 (374)

178 (323)

151 (305)

253 (680)

Percentage of households with:

Mobile or fixed phone










Piped water supply





Private latrine or toilet





Perceived sufficient income





a Total annual income (12 months prior to survey) from agriculture, livestock, business, wage labor and other sources (remittances, subsidies, pensions), net of costs, in USD; currency converted using yearly average provided by the World Bank.

b Total livestock value at the time of interview.

c Total area of agricultural, forest, other natural habitat and residential areas controlled by the household, either used or rented out.

Table 17.2 Indicators of household forest dependence based on the 2010 survey.





Number of households sampled





Household average (SD)

Share of income from forest

80.06 (27.19)

33.52 (31.22)

23.27 (37.03)

6.61 (11.93)

Share of income from agriculture




43.95 (54.39)

Area of natural forest cleared (ha)a

0.09 (0.37)

0.21 (0.78)

0.10 (0.44)

0.10 (0.41)

Area of secondary forest cleared (ha)a

0.05 (0.24)

0.00 (0.00)

0.00 (0.00)

0.00 (0.00)

Area left fallow (ha)b

1.31 (1.93)

3.17 (1.26)

1.65 (0.93)

3.97 (2.79)

Distance to forests (minutes walking)





Percentage of households

With agriculture as a primary or secondary occupation (adults ≥ 16 years old)c





With a forest-based primary or secondary occupation (adults ≥ 16 years old)d





Reporting increased consumption of forest productse





Reporting decreased consumption of forest productse





Obtaining cash income from forest productsf





Reporting an increase in cash income from forestf





Reporting a decrease in cash income from forestf





Reporting fuelwood or charcoal as primary cooking source





Leaving land fallowg





Clearing forestg





Reporting decreased opportunity for clearing forestg





Clearing land for cropsg





Clearing land for pastureg





a Average no. of hectares cleared over the past two years among households that reported clearing of any forest.

b Average no. of hectares left fallow among households that reported leaving any land fallow.

c Percentage of households with at least one adult reporting cropping as a primary or secondary livelihood.

d Percentage of households with at least one adult reporting forestry as a primary or secondary livelihood.

e Percentage of households among those that reported any consumption of forest products over the past two years.

f Percentage of households among those that reported any cash income from forest products over the past two years.

g In the two years prior to the survey.

The KFCP area was mostly zoned as conservation forest, but – as also seen in the Rimba Raya (Chapter 20) and Katingan (Chapter 18) cases – land uses on the ground often do not respect zoning regulations. In the two years prior to our survey, the net forest area had been reduced (3 of 4 villages) or stayed the same (1 of 4 villages). Fires (in KFCP) and expansion of oil palm plantations (outside KFCP) were identified as primary causes of forest loss on common lands controlled by our study communities.7 On individually controlled lands, the landowner’s activities (e.g. land clearing for cultivation) were the primary causes of forest loss.

Communities were tightly formed around settlement (pemukiman) areas along the Kapuas River. Villages (desa) are the smallest political administrative unit in the country. A dusun is a permanent, yet separate settlement bound to a village. A desa comprises a main village and can include several hamlets. Hamlets can become an independent village once they fulfill a set of criteria. In KFCP’s community engagement efforts, hamlets were considered separate communal units from their home village. Formal agreements were signed by the desa, and they apply to all the dusun within the desa.

The study communities settled in the area at least since Indonesia’s independence (1945).8 Immigrants came as loggers during the logging boom in the 1970s–1990s, and transmigrants/laborers for MRP in the mid to late 1990s. They became part of the community, and beneficiaries of KFCP. Later migrants worked in nearby oil palm plantations and lived separately from the main village settlement. During our study, many people had temporarily migrated to gold mining communities upstream due to lack of job opportunities in their villages.

Formally, each village is led by an elected village head, who appoints several kepala urusan or kaur in charge of specific issues (e.g. economic development, social issues). The village head (kades) and a permanent village secretary form the village government. It is the most active decision-making institution in our study communities. Each village has a village council (badan perwakilan desa). Leaders in the studied communities were generally male, and women did not feel they participated actively in village-level decision making. Families form the most important informal institution in village life, networking, politics and decision making. Other non-formal institutions such as religious groups (e.g. yasinan/Quran reading groups), maternal health groups (kelompok posyandu) and farmer groups were not as influential in village-level decision making.

KAP1 and KAP4 were religiously mixed (Protestant, Muslim, Kaharingan), while KAP2 and KAP3 were predominantly Muslim. Dayak Ngaju was the dominant ethnic group in all intervention settlements. Each village had at least three Dayak Ngaju customary leaders (mantir adat), representing major religions relevant to their village. They deal with social, cultural and land tenure issues (with the village head).

In 2010, all study villages were accessible only by the Kapuas River although, by 2013, one study village could also be accessed by car. Until now, the Kapuas River serves as the main garbage disposal facility, and the source of food and water. Poor road access leads to poor delivery of health and educational services since teachers and health workers mostly come from outside of the KFCP area. Access to formal credit was not available in 2010, but became available in 2013 through a Central Kalimantan-based credit union. Mobile phones are the primary tool for communication, although the service is still limited. Most consumer goods are purchased in the village through trade boats (kapal dagang) that come to the village daily or weekly. Specialized goods and services (e.g. photocopying services, boat engines) are found in the subdistrict or district capitals. In 2010, most (80%) sampled households used fuelwood as their primary cooking fuel (see Table 17.2), especially since the price of kerosene increased in 2010. Generators are still the main source of electricity and are used sparingly.

The majority of sampled households felt income was just enough to cover their household needs. During our 2010 fieldwork, the main economic commodities were reported as: rubber (USD 0.72/kg), gold (USD 33/gr), fish (USD 1.65-USD 2.20/kg) and gemor bark (USD 49.50/100 kg dry weight).9 In Block A, rice (USD 11/15 kg hulled rice) was also dominant. The price of a hectare of good quality agricultural land ranged from USD 82.51 to USD 495.05 depending on accessibility and presence of productive rubber trees.

Of the total income reported by households interviewed in the four study villages, 29% was derived from the forest and environment (Figure 17.3). However, forest dependence generally decreased across time and distance to high quality forest. KAP1 and 2 were closer to intact peat forests, and had higher forest-based income than KAP3 and 4 (see Figure 17.4), which were surrounded by degraded peatlands. In all study villages, households shifted to rubber and gold mining after logging was banned in 2005. Reliance on farm income relative to non-farm and forest/environment incomes was highest in KAP3 and 4, where rice cultivation was an additional income source not available for KAP1 and 2.


Figure 17.3 Sources of income for all households in sample (n = 131).

Note: livestock contributes a net negative 1.5% to income because of high costs in the survey year.


Figure 17.4 Sources of income for average household by village (+/- SE) (n = 131).

Timber was still the most important construction material in our study communities, although prices had increased due to low supply. Most households in our study communities extracted some NTFPs, including gemor (Alseodaphne sp.) bark,10 wild rattan, wild honey, birds, fish, fruits and vegetables. In study villages located farther from forests, the concept of forest was often intertwined with the concept of rubber gardens, which look similar to forests. Products such as fuelwood, wild pigs, frogs, snakes, birds, medicinal plants, wild vegetables and fruits were collected from these gardens. Only men venture beyond rubber gardens to log, hunt or clear secondary forests for agriculture. Women and men sometimes go together to collect NTFPs such as gemor. In these villages, many NTFPs were also gathered in and around their rubber gardens and settlements, such as rattan, honey, fish, fruits and vegetables.

Rice and rubber latex were the main sources of agricultural income. Net income from agricultural products in the survey year, which includes subsistence and cash income, ranged from USD 1388 to 2251. Swidden agriculture for rice cultivation was practiced widely in Block A, but was not possible in Block E. In the last two years, 13 of 132 sampled households reported clearing an average of 1.5 ha of primary or secondary forest for agriculture. They claimed most agricultural lands were converted from shrublands. In Block E, land clearing for rubber was decreasing due to a shortage of suitable land for planting rubber. Across KFCP, rearing large livestock was difficult due to the lack of fodder in the area.

17.4 Challenges facing the initiative

In 2011–2012, as KFCP activities with communities continued to intensify, benefit sharing and land tenure became the main issues raised by households we talked with. Local customary tenure rules give individuals land claim when they have invested on that land (e.g. planting, clearing land). Since KFCP funded planting in village areas, there were worries the land would be claimed by KFCP. This worry dissipated after the village agreements. In 2013, many households still thought their village leaders took the lion’s share of KFCP benefits, such as getting included as laborers, being (paid) members of TPK/TP, providing services (e.g. transportation), and the (speculated) possibility of appropriating leftover funds from KFCP activities.

Canal blocking was the main technical intervention that KFCP planned to implement, but it was highly criticized by a group of peatland scientists in Central Kalimantan. They pushed for an evaluation and re-evaluation of KFCP’s environmental impact assessment, and argued it will alienate local people and funnel money to private contractors (APFP 2011). The criticisms were based on limited knowledge of the techniques that would have been used by KFCP, but in the end, the canal blocking was cancelled. Based on discussions with villagers and KFCP staff involved in the canal blocking negotiations and design, most of the budget and work would have been managed and implemented by villagers. Village leaders welcomed it and were confused about why it was canceled. There were efforts underway to revive it through post-KFCP initiatives (personal communication from Siran, 2014).

In the field, community engagement absorbed significant staff time and resources. There were strong and constant negotiations between village/customary leaders and KFCP to include, for example, Dayak Ngaju rituals, local ecological knowledge, customary land tenure arrangements and local labor in KFCP implementation (personal observation of negotiations and rituals; Nurhayati et al. 2014). This meant that negotiations in preparation for implementation were time-consuming and contentious, but essential and unavoidable.

In 2010–2011, concerns about KFCP among local communities were based on experience with the MRP and CKPP. During these early years, local people were worried and confused about KFCP’s identity and objectives, and did not trust them. Local communities confused KFCP with previous projects (e.g. CKPP, BOS Mawas) due to overlaps in objectives, staff, partners and site (Franky 2011). By 2013, the confusion was significantly reduced because of the observable activities supported by KFCP, the ways and principles used by KFCP when implementing those activities, and public speeches given by senior government officials in support of KFCP (personal communication from S Atmadja, 2014).11

17.5 Lessons from the initiative

As a bilateral demonstration activity, there was tremendous pressure for KFCP to perform and share knowledge. But KFCP did not widely disseminate information about its activities until 2012, more than two years after the start of field implementation. For example, until 2012, the easiest way to access KFCP’s PDD was through the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland (n.d.), even though they were an Indonesian and Australian bilateral program. This was unlike other REDD+ initiatives, which worked hard to showcase their work, through interviews, websites and newsletters. REDD+ initiatives that try to get carbon certification must provide an extensive initiative description, and implementation report on the carbon standards’ website.

In 2012, key informants from the district government felt KFCP did not consult with them enough, and they felt left out of the decision-making process related to KFCP. Some researchers criticized KFCP for delays, under performance and lack of transparency (Olbrei and Howes 2012). In 2011–2012, KFCP was caught in a domestic Australian political climate that was becoming less supportive of Australia’s climate change policies. This was related to the power struggle between then prime minister and supporter of climate change initiatives, Julia Gillard, and the foreign minister, Kevin Rudd. Negative media reports were taken up quickly in domestic Australian politics. Some members of the Australian senate took the view that KFCP was a “total failure” because, according to Senator Christine Milne of the Australian Senate, “about one-third of the AUD 100 million has been spent and only 1,000 hectares has been replanted” (Australian Senate 2012, 148). Such statements symbolize their understanding of KFCP as a REDD+ demonstration activity.

Critical news on KFCP’s impact on local people often appeared in websites (e.g.,,, and was reported in mass media (e.g. Surbakti 2012). KFCP criticisms reached a high point when a representative from Yayasan Petak Danum, a local NGO, submitted a formal letter to the Australian delegation visiting the KFCP site in February 2011. This letter listed their concerns about KFCP, which included lack of transparency, lack of recognition of and respect for indigenous rights and knowledge, poor choice of project staff, and lack of community engagement (Lang 2011).

Some of the critical assertions about community perceptions of KFCP were inconsistent with our observations in the field. Other researchers working in KFCP have quietly hinted this as well (e.g. see comments from Alue Dohong and Medrilzam in Lang 2011). We attribute the inconsistencies to two reasons: (i) the type of people whose perceptions were elicited, and (ii) the point in time when perceptions were elicited. In the communities we studied, strongly negative feelings against KFCP highlighted by critics were expressed by a small number of vocal individuals. Yet the majority of local people we talked with, either through targeted formal interviews, or random dialogues and household surveys, ranged from being positive, indifferent/“wait and see”, or unaware of KFCP. Timing of the observation also matters. Earlier in the implementation phase (2010–2011), we observed general wariness and concern about how communities could benefit from KFCP. At the time, most of KFCP’s activities were still viewed by locals as not being concrete. By 2013, almost all households we randomly surveyed received some livelihood benefits from KFCP, and many people stated that they wanted KFCP to continue.

As government agencies, IAFCP’s implementing agencies (AusAID and MoFor) were not quick to react to such public controversy. IAFCP remained silent, until an independent review in 2011 made it clear that they needed a communication strategy, and prompted action (See AusAID and DCCEE n.d.). A communication expert was hired, and a website was created by the end of 2012. KFCP published dozens of working papers, all village agreements, quotes and stories from community members, and their PDD online. By then, however, negative perceptions of KFCP had already taken root.

The lesson is that large, REDD+ initiatives need to actively communicate with all stakeholder groups, especially during the initial period, when uncertainty is high. Our research did not delve into the reason why this did not take place in KFCP. In donor countries, funding REDD+ activities overseas are part of existing debates on climate change. In recipient countries, local governments need to be included in the decision-making process. Information about strategies, objectives, progress and plans need to be widely available and responsive to the needs of civil society. Observers should also be aware that communities are heterogeneous and perceptions change. They should be mindful of the way inquiries about local people’s perceptions are conducted.

17.6 Acknowledgments

We are grateful for the kindness and generosity of the key informants, survey respondents, guides and residents of the villages we studied and for help from the staff at IAFCP, KFCP, CARE, Walhi, YPD, the Kapuas district and Central Kalimantan provincial governments. A team of field enumerators, interns and research assistants made it possible for us to collect data and insights used in this chapter. Our appreciation is owed to: Josephine Styorini, Lena Riansy, Linggarjati, Rohana, Susanti, Lina Farida Jihadah, Angela Iban, Bimo Dwisatrio, Robiansyah and Martide. We are also grateful to Yusef F. Hadiwinata and Yeyet Suryatno for introducing us to the KFCP area during our scoping trip in 2009. Data entry and cleaning were provided through the keen eyes and endless patience of Tina Taufiqoh and Merlinta Anggilia, and we are grateful to them for their help. We would also like to thank our reviewers (Ida Aju Pradnja Resosudarmo, Tim Jessup, Achmad Pribadi and Sulistyo Siran) for their useful comments that helped to improve this chapter.

1 Also known as the million-hectare peatland project (Proyek Lahan Gambut Sejuta Hektar).

2 The figure of AUD 47 million found in various reports refers to the amount pledged by the Australian government (e.g. 2013; Kaspar 2012). The amount actually disbursed was AUD 37.47 million.

3 Peatland rehabilitation requires rewetting previously drained areas by blocking/reducing the water flow in artificial waterways such as canals and tatas. Since peat is highly porous, blocked water can drain/leak from other parts of the landscape. Hence, the rehabilitation encompasses an entire hydrological unit, known as a peat dome, to ensure that such leaks do not occur.

4 Source: signature dates of village agreements from seven villages. A copy of each agreement can be found at

5 Some households were excluded in the first KFCP village agreement because they were away when households had to decide if they wanted to participate. Since interest in participating was high, their inclusion in the second agreement was one of the negotiation points with communities.

6 Formal village boundaries were not available.

7 Communities control areas inside and outside of the KFCP intervention area.

8 Historical artifacts found in the area suggest a much longer history of settlement and trade, but respondents had little knowledge of this.

9 USD 1 = IDR 9090 (2010 exchange rate, World Bank 2014)

10 Gemor bark is sold as raw material for mosquito repellents.

11 Atmadja S, Jihadah L and Indriatmoko Y. n.d. What is REDD+? Local interpretations and communication challenges. Unpublished manuscript.


Box H
REDD+ in Indonesia: The national context