The Katingan Peatland Restoration and Conservation Project (Katingan Project) is an ecosystem restoration initiative on a peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.1 It is managed by an Indonesian company, PT. Rimba Makmur Utama (PT.RMU). Like the Rimba Raya initiative (Chapter 20), the Katingan Project applied for an ERC, which was granted by MoFor in late 2013. The ERC license covered only half of the proposed area, which is not consistent with the ideal approach for peatland conservation/rehabilitation of protecting the integrity of the entire peat dome. This chapter describes the initiative based on the CIFOR-GCS survey conducted in 2010 and 2011, interviews with key informants between 2011 and 2014, field observations, and other documentation.

18.1 Basic facts: Where, who, why and when

18.1.1 Geography

In the initial proposal, the Katingan Project was meant to cover a project area of 203,570 ha across two districts in Central Kalimantan: Katingan and Kotawaringin Timur (Kotim). This area covers an entire peat dome and was proposed to MoFor as the ERC license area (‘project zone’). It was located between Mentaya River to the west and Katingan River to the east, almost reaching the Java Sea to the south. The Katingan side is accessed mainly via the Katingan River. The Kotim side can be accessed by road and by the Mentaya River. Sampit, the district capital of Kotim, lies on the western side across the Mentaya River, while Sebangau National Park (SNP) lies on the eastern side across the Katingan River. We refer to the area between the proposed project zone and these natural borders as the buffer zone.

There are 34 village settlements in this buffer zone. Most people in these settlements make their livelihoods from activities in the buffer zone (e.g. fishing, food production, rubber tapping and rattan cultivation). Some forest-based livelihood activities such as NTFP collection (e.g. gemor,2 songbirds3) and small-scale logging are located in the proposed project zone. In the north, there are small-scale gold and zircon mining concessions and oil palm concessions that put pressure on forests in the buffer zone.

The proposed project area is formally zoned as 88% production forest (hutan produksi) and 12% production forest for conversion (hutan produksi yang dapat dikonversi) (Hartono 2013). Prior to 2002, it had been managed for decades through logging concessions (hak pengusahaan hutan). Since then, there has been no active logging concession in the area. A small part of the proposed project area (13%) was non-forest, while the rest was forest degraded by fire or previous logging (34%), and primary or productive forest (53%) (Hartono 2011). This area has high biodiversity, with at least 144 tree species and endangered faunal species, such as orangutans and proboscis monkeys (Harrison et al. 2010; Harrison et al. 2011).

In October 2013, MoFor granted PT.RMU an ERC license in the Katingan district portion of their project zone (108,255 ha), which effectively cut the proposed project area in half (MoFor 2014a). This is denoted as the initiative area in Figure 18.1. Out of a total area of 377,428 ha under ERC licenses in Indonesia, this was the largest single ERC license (Hendroyono 2013). As of 2014, PT.RMU is still seeking to acquire an ERC license for the remaining portion in Kotim district. When selecting study villages, CIFOR-GCS considered the larger project zone as initially proposed, because it represented the area that the initiative intended and is still trying to protect.


Figure 18.1 Map of the Katingan Project.

Data sources: PT.RMU, GADM, IUCN and UNEP-WCMC (2005), and World Ocean Base.

The main economic sectors of Katingan district (where the current project zone is located) are mining (e.g. coal, gold, zirconite), oil palm, rubber and fisheries. These sectors contributed approximately 38% of the district’s GDP in 2012.4 The district spans 17,800 km2, has flat terrain at an altitude ranging from 13 to 50 masl and has an annual rainfall of 3018 mm/year (BPS Katingan 2013a). The population of Katingan district in 2013 was 152,724 (BPS Katingan 2013a). Between 2008 and 2012, population growth rate in Katingan district was between 0.96% and 1.88% per annum.5 Some of this growth reflected in-migration related to the recent district establishment (2003) and to jobs in oil palm plantations and mining. People migrated from other parts of Central Kalimantan and from South Kalimantan, Madura and Java. In 2008, there was only 33.82 km of paved road in the district, which almost tripled by 2012 (BPS Katingan 2013a). The Katingan River remains the main access route to most settlements in the district.

18.1.2 Stakeholders and funding

The proponent of the Katingan Project is PT.RMU, a private Indonesian company based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Since 2008, Starling Resources, an environmental and sustainability consulting group based in Bali, Indonesia, has led project preparation and development on behalf of PT.RMU. Prior to gaining an ERC license, the Katingan Project conducted preparatory activities with funding from donor institutions (e.g. the Clinton Foundation) and a feasibility study to establish a bilateral offset credit mechanism between Indonesia and Japan (Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) (Wardell and Alimi 2010; Siran et al. 2012). Activities were carried out in partnership with, or building on the work of NGOs (e.g. Yayasan Puter, Simpul Layanan Pemetaan Partisipatif Kalimantan Tengah, Yayasan Cakrawala Indonesia, Yayasan Kopernik, Photo Voices, Pokker SHK, Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project), international/government institutions (Forestry Research and Development Agency, ITTO), universities (Palangkaraya University, Hokkaido University) and private companies (Marubeni Corporation, Terra Global Capital, Starling Resources, Posh Graffiti, Permian Global) (Siran et al. 2012; Yayasan Puter 2014; Katingan Project n.d.).

Governmental institutions relevant to the ERC licensing process became important stakeholders in the Katingan Project. This includes MoFor, which processes and issues the license, and the district governments of Katingan and Kotim, which provide recommendations required for the license. In contrast to other REDD+ initiatives in Indonesia, there have not been any forest protection interventions by nongovernmental institutions in the proposed initiative area. This land zone is under the jurisdiction of MoFor and is eligible for ERC. Across the district and Central Kalimantan in general, there are many overlapping land-use licenses, because the process of synchronizing the land zoning status with the provincial spatial plan in Central Kalimantan has been extremely slow. Large actors such as oil palm and mining businesses influence land-use decisions at the district level. These dynamics have affected the Katingan initiative. For example, the district head allocated parts of the initiative area to nine mining and six oil palm companies, which delayed the ERC license process (Hartono 2011). Prior to proposing its project area, PT.RMU excluded 2000–3000 ha of land allocated to an oil palm concession at the request of the Katingan district head.

The villages in the project area were considered by a key informant in the district government to be the poorest in the district. The REDD+ initiative was seen by the key informant as an opportunity to improve their well-being. These villages have limited access to markets and livelihood options. From a legal perspective, tenure is weak because it is based on customary laws (Safitri 2010). The Katingan Project planned to specify benefit-sharing arrangements through village agreements with each village in the project area (target village). To provide clarity in benefit sharing, the initiative will conduct participatory mapping or will use previous maps (by Yayasan Puter) to clarify rights and liabilities. Conflict over land and natural resources among community members is not high because they all adhere to the same customary rules and the population density is low.

18.1.3 Motivation

The leaders of PT.RMU, Dharsono Hartono (CEO) and Rezal Kusumaatmadja (COO), come from business and environmental backgrounds. They want to develop a new business model based on forest conservation, and the idea of forest carbon trading seemed like a way of achieving this. The establishment of PT.RMU and the Katingan Project was motivated by the idea that forest conservation in Indonesia can be profitable (Butler 2013; Katingan Project n.d.). The business started from personal networks and business partnerships of the two leaders. The Katingan Project expects to sell carbon credits in the voluntary market, and follows the certification processes of CCBA and VCS. As of 2014, the Katingan Project is in the process of carbon validation, and therefore has not yet sold any carbon credits. In an interview, the proponent felt the initiative could continue even without carbon financing, but did not elaborate on how that would be accomplished.


Men and women in a study village remove the thorny outer layer of rattan vines as part of rattan processing. They are crafted into baskets, bags and mats, or sold as semi-processed rattan. (Nugroho Adi Utomo/CIFOR)

The governor of Central Kalimantan is supportive of REDD+ activities. This province is the first pilot REDD+ province selected by the Indonesian Government, and hosts many other REDD+ initiatives (e.g. KFCP and Rimba Raya, in Chapters 17 and 20, respectively) (Butler 2010). It also contains large areas of tropical peatland, which is dense in belowground carbon. We observed that there was a network of NGOs in Central Kalimantan that were critical of REDD+ in general (e.g. WALHI- Kalimantan Tengah, Yayasan Petak Danum and Save Our Borneo). In an interview, a key informant in one of these NGOs expressed concern that local people are just spectators in the REDD+ debate because of their weak tenure status and that REDD+ is not focused on the more important drivers of deforestation such as oil palm plantations and mining.

The Katingan Project was the first REDD+ effort in Katingan or Kotim district. PT.RMU considered eight sites prior to selecting the proposed intervention area, which was chosen because it covers an entire peat dome, was only partially degraded, and was threatened with conversion and drainage.6 Before the ERC license was issued in 2013, WWF, the Katingan district forest service and Yayasan Puter conducted forest conservation and community development activities in villages targeted by the initiative.

18.1.4 Timeline

The project timeline (Figure 18.2) begins with project preparation, which was done in October to December 2007 and included a feasibility study to assess biophysical, tenurial and social factors. PT.RMU submitted their ERC license application to MoFor in November 2008. In early 2009, the company started limited community engagement to introduce the Katingan Project (sosialisasi) by means of village meetings and posters in selected villages (Hartono 2011). PT.RMU received its SP-1 (Surat Perintah Pertama/First Letter of Order) from MoFor in June 2009, which stated that the company is a prospective holder of an ERC license over 217,755 ha of land in two districts (Katingan and Kotim). For the proponents, this marked the beginning of their project. Three years later (in February 2012), the second letter of order (SP-2) was received, following the approval of their environmental impact assessment. This letter is an order from the minister to the forest planning bureau (Badan Planologi/Baplan) to issue a working area map for the ERC. More than a year later, in October 2013, the initiative received its final ERC license covering 108,255 ha (MoFor 2013b).


Figure 18.2 Timeline of the Katingan Project.

The Katingan Project did not implement any activities to reduce emissions in the field prior to the issuance of the ERC License. They did not directly engage with communities for preparatory activities in order to avoid raising local expectations while there was a risk that the license would not be issued. Early communication with local stakeholders (e.g. at the village and subdistrict levels) was focused on their plans for ecosystem restoration, rather than REDD+ or forest carbon.

There were, however, activities related to forest conservation and community development targeted at communities in the intervention area, which were conducted by other institutions such as Yayasan Puter, WWF and the forestry agencies (dishutbun) in each district. Yayasan Puter implemented many activities that supported the readiness of local communities for REDD+ and were complementary to the Katingan Project. Yayasan Puter eventually became a partner of the project. In contrast, the activities of WWF and the dishutbun built on their prior forest conservation efforts in the region and were independent of the Katingan Project.

In early 2009, Yayasan Puter conducted participatory mapping in three villages in the Katingan Project to clarify village borders and establish village land-use plans, with funding from the Packard Foundation (Yayasan Puter 2014; Packard Foundation n.d.). From December 2012 to November 2013, additional funding from USAID enabled Yayasan Puter to expand this work to 12 villages in Katingan and Kotim districts, including our four study villages (Yayasan Puter 2014; IFACS n.d.). PT.RMU planned to overlay these maps with the maps of the ERC limits, forming the spatial basis of future village agreements.

From 2009 to 2010, Yayasan Puter facilitated the establishment of community rubber gardens in two villages in the Katingan side, to rehabilitate degraded peatlands and provide livelihoods. From 2010 to 2011, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Yayasan Puter to conduct various activities in two villages, including facilitating the establishment of a credit union type scheme (simpan pinjam) for women, and provide fisheries assistance (GEF 2012a). This provided around USD 5500 of seed funds for each village, funded by GEF. We observed that the credit union was dynamic, and members used funds to develop small businesses such as producing pastries, opening shops and making handicrafts. Not all women in those villages became members because of perceptions of membership limitations, resulting in jealousy among women who wanted to be members. Fisheries support was provided to ten community groups across the same two villages, consisting of 2–5 people in each group. It included providing floating fish cages (karamba) and hatchlings such as Nile tilapia/nila (Oreochromis niloticus) and Giant Snakehead/toman (Channa micropeltes), and establishing fishponds.

In 2012–2013, GEF funded activities to develop small-scale rattan businesses that were facilitated by Yayasan Puter (GEF 2012b). The focus was on two villages in Kotim with an existing rattan business community that could be developed. In November 2013, a shipment of rattan baskets from these villages arrived in the UK to be marketed by the eco-label Posh Graffiti. Villagers were satisfied by the relatively high price offered for rattan products. A key informant in one of those villages felt that most of the rattan was commissioned to only one village, which left a feeling of inequality in the other village. In March 2013, Yayasan Puter and Yayasan Kopernik distributed 180 compact solar lights to members of the women’s credit union in one village. Due to high demand, an additional 300 lights are being distributed in this and two other villages (Kopernik n.d).

After the ERC license issuance in October 2013, PT.RMU conducted several activities in our study villages, many of which were done in collaboration with Yayasan Puter. In March 2014, they established firefighting teams, similar to those established previously by WWF in several villages adjacent to SNP. Some activities were planned for 2014, including reconciling maps from the participatory mapping exercise with the ERC license map issued by MoFor. Similar to KFCP (Chapter 17), this initiative also wanted to make village agreements, which were planned to start in mid-2014 (personal observation). The agreements are likely to include enhanced policing of forest access and use. Reforestation of degraded lands within the PT.RMU project area is planned to start at the end of 2014.

18.2 Strategy for the initiative

Most of the initiative area is still intact or partially intact peat forests. Therefore, much of the focus is on avoiding future drainage and deforestation, with some forest restoration activities planned in the southern part of the project. Like Rimba Raya (Chapter 20), the Katingan Project uses its ERC license to secure management rights over the area. By including the entire Katingan peat dome under an ERC license, it can legally block others from converting the peatlands to other land uses, thereby protecting the peatland’s integrity and avoiding future emissions. To date, half of the peat dome is protected in this way, and plans are underway to incorporate the remaining areas of the dome in the near future. Until this is completed, areas outside the current ERC license remain under threat.

This partial protection could have negative impacts on the area inside the ERC. Peat soils have high hydraulic conductivity compared to inorganic soils (Wong et al. 2009). The result is a strong hydrologic link between peatland conditions ‘downstream’ (i.e. the edges of the peat dome, nearer to rivers) and ‘upstream’ (i.e. the center of the peat dome, where the project zone is located). Peatland degradation downstream (e.g. through land conversion, fires, opening canals) could negatively impact the peatland upstream by increasing the flow of water coming out of the peat dome (Holden et al. 2006). This leads to higher rates of peat oxidation, which causes carbon emissions from peatlands upstream.

Current pressures and future threats on forests and peatlands include fires, illegal logging and forest conversion to alternative land uses by smallholders, especially agriculture for food production, rubber and small-scale gold mining. The minimal law enforcement that currently exists is seen by PT.RMU as a potential challenge. More than a quarter of the proposed project area was affected by human activities. This includes ditches (tatas)7 from previous and current logging found mainly in the southern part of the proposed project area.8 These waterways drain the peatlands and increase the probability of fires. To reduce peatland drainage, the project planned to re-wet degraded peatlands.

Since our study began in 2010, several large-scale oil palm plantations operated outside of the proposed project buffer area, and were keen to expand. Small-scale swidden agriculture by communities and migrants operate in the buffer zone outside of the ERC area and are generally kept close to settlements. North of the project area, forests and vegetation have been gradually converted into barren sand by artisanal gold miners, which could potentially encroach into the project’s buffer zone in the future. Fuelwood and NTFP collection did not pose substantial threat to the proposed project area because they were mostly collected from the buffer zone and did not threaten peatland integrity.

In some public documents (e.g. Terra Global Capital n.d.) the Katingan Project is explicitly called a REDD+ project. However, their website does not use “REDD” to describe itself and uses phrases such as “peatland restoration and conservation” (Katingan Project n.d.). Their main goals are obtaining carbon funding, sustainable forest management and community development. The issuance of the ERC license at the end of 2013 marks a kick-start in discussions about forest use and management with communities.

To ensure that the public knew the challenges they were encountering, gain support and manage expectations, PT.RMU’s CEO Dharsono Hartono communicated extensively to a wide range of stakeholders. Stories about their trials and tribulations in getting their ERC licenses were shared through many national and international media outlets (e.g. story in the Jakarta Post [Desilets 2010]). Unlike KFCP (Chapter 17), most of the media coverage was positive or neutral. Mr. Hartono spoke in and attended a wide range of events, including international conferences (e.g. Forests Asia Summit, UNFCCC COP), MoFor workshops, national REDD+ stakeholder meetings, civil society meetings (e.g. of the Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago/Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara [AMAN] Kalteng9 in 2012; a REDD+ journalist training in 2011; The Forest Dialogue’s Field Dialogue on 4Fs in Indonesia in 2014), and events for the general public (e.g. spoke at a TED talk in Jakarta and to the Indonesian Heritage Society). Mr. Hartono and Mr. Kusumaatmadja spoke about their plans directly in village and subdistrict meetings. This was perceived positively by the village key informants. PT.RMU worked with the Photo Voices Program to involve nine community members in four villages (including some of our study villages), to document and report events related to people and the environment. These communication efforts were a delicate balancing act. For example, Harrison Ford, the famous actor and environmental activist visited the site in 2013 as part of a documentary TV series, putting the project in the spotlight (Lang 2014). The documentary was particularly critical of MoFor, at a sensitive time when the project was undergoing their licensing process.

Some key informants in our study villages said that they would prefer if PT.RMU become operational soon. They thought activities by NGOs such as Yayasan Puter tended to be short term and dependent on donor funding. Unlike NGOs, PT.RMU is a private company with a long-term forestry concession. Their experience with forestry concessions suggests this will have positive long-term effects on the local economy. However, they felt most people still do not understand the Katingan Project’s business plan, but believed that companies like them will always find a way to make a profit. Local elites in one study village openly expressed their wariness of an ecosystem restoration company like PT.RMU, because they believed elites could get routine cash incentives (e.g. monthly payments) from oil palm concessions.

With regard to benefit sharing, a 2014 government regulation states that 10% of carbon sales will be recorded as MoFor revenue (GoI 2014). A general community development/alternative livelihoods program is planned as a benefit sharing approach, which will be made through a legal village agreement. We cannot yet determine if special attention is given to segments of the local communities that are more likely to be impacted by the project, such as illegal loggers and seasonal hunters.

As part of a feasibility study, the project assessed forest cover using remote sensing, ground truthing and community perceptions of forest change. They plan to monitor the entire project area, and are still considering ways to monitor leakage. The BAU deforestation rate is calculated using historical averages, while carbon density, subsidence and water levels are monitored and assessed using transects and semi-randomized plots. Carbon pools being monitored include above and belowground carbon. Estimates for forest degradation have not been developed. Prior to the ERC license being issued, carbon assessments were done by Starling Resources. An REL has not yet been published. However, PT.RMU stated that 10 million tCO2e/year are being saved by the project (Hartono 2012).

Villages in the target area receive interventions and support from various government programs and NGO activities. Government institutions provide support for agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure, water and sanitation, food subsidies, education and health services. Among our four study villages (KKT1–KKT4), KKT1 and KKT2 received significantly more interventions for forest conservation because of proximity to the SNP. In 2013, the park management included them in the process of park zonation to clarify the village boundary in relation to the park’s boundary. The provincial public works agency rehabilitated irrigation canals in KKT3. From 2012 up to now, the Katingan district forest and agriculture service (dishutbun) helped to establish community seedling nurseries (kebun bibit rakyat) in four study villages.

According to two village heads, the participatory mapping exercise helped clarify previously unclear village boundaries. They felt it was a sign that the project will acknowledge local people’s rights within PT.RMU’s project area. They contrasted this with other villages in Katingan district, that were often uncertain about their village boundaries. The Katingan district government has a village boundary mapping program, but it had not been implemented in villages in the Katingan Project during the time of our survey.

18.3 Smallholders in the initiative

Data for this section was taken from household, village and women’s surveys in four villages (KKT1 to KKT4) targeted by the Katingan Project. These villages were selected from 13 villages that the project determined in 2010 would be affected by their activities. In each village, 33–34 randomly selected households were interviewed totaling 133 households. Two study villages are along the Katingan River in Katingan district, while the other two are along the Mentaya River in Kotim district (see Figure 18.1). These villages existed before Indonesia’s independence in 1945. In KKT1, KKT2 and KKT4, we sampled the entire village (desa); In KKT3, our sample was limited to a few neighborhoods (Rukun Tetangga/RT) that consisted of the rural portion of a larger village that had more urbanized areas. In 2013, KKT3 split into an independent village. In this study, our sampling strategy and analysis for household-level data was focused on KKT3, and not on the larger village from which it originated.

Across the study villages, income from wage labor and household business were the most important part of household income (Figure 18.3), but there was substantial variation across villages (Figure 18.4). In study villages on the Katingan district side, forest products were important sources of livelihoods, although they were not the primary livelihood (Table 18.1). A large proportion of households in KKT1 (90%) and KKT2 (36%) earned cash income from forest products. These villages also had among the highest portion of total income from forest products among our 23 case studies (KKT1=52%, KKT2=30%) (Figure 18.4). In KKT1, much of their income was from wild-caught fish, making them more vulnerable to anomalies in rainfall patterns. In 2010, a La Niña climatic event caused river flows to be uncertain, which made catching fish difficult. Additionally, KKT1 had a big migrant community that come to live in the village for logging, which was legally banned in 2005. The effect of the ban started to be felt in 2009. The logging ban and 2010 La Niña triggered enormous out-migration; key informants estimated that 60 of 300 households moved out of the village in search of jobs between 2009 and 2011. In KKT2, forest-based incomes were less vulnerable to climatic anomalies because their incomes from forest and environment were diversified among fish, fuelwood, bamboo, birds, hunting, wild vegetables, medicines and timber. Most household incomes, however, are derived from rice, rattan and rubber production, and labor.


Figure 18.3 Sources of income for all households in sample (n = 133).

Note: Livestock contributes a net negative 1% to income, because of high costs in survey year.


Figure 18.4 Sources of income for average household by village (+/- SE) (n = 133).

Table 18.1 Indicators of household forest dependence based on the 2010 survey.





Number of households sampled





Household average (SD)

Share of income from forest

52.48 (37.31)

29.83 (58.25)

1.57 (5.38)

6.60 (21.00)

Share of income from agriculture

1.06 (18.04)

3.92 (95.90)

8.85 (26.51)

17.78 (36.08)

Area of natural forest cleared (ha)a

0.03 (0.17)

0.09 (0.29)

0.13 (0.32)

0.05 (0.22)

Area of secondary forest cleared (ha)a

0.00 (0.00)

0.00 (0.00)

0.00 (0.00)

0.00 (0.00)

Area left fallow (ha)b

2.22 (1.90)

4.29 (8.26)

0.87 (0.79)

1.56 (0.76)

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.

In the Kotim study villages, very few households earned any cash from forest products (KKT3=3%; KKT4=9%), but it represented an important source of income for those households. In KKT3, fuelwood was the main forest product harvested (by 38% of households), and did not generate cash income because it was not traded. Agricultural production and labor were the most important income sources for both villages, especially for rice. In terms of well-being, KKT3 was visibly the poorest village (Table 18.2). Like KKT1 and KKT2, it lacked any road access, but prices for goods were higher because unlike other study villages, there were no merchant boats that directly sold goods there. Soils were not productive for small-scale rice and rubber cultivation, and there were no stable income sources. Differences in reliance on forest and environmental incomes across study villages can be seen in Figure 18.3 and 18.4.

Table 18.2 Socioeconomic characteristics of households interviewed in 2010.





Number of households sampled





Household average (SD)

Number of adults

3.1 (1.6)

3.3 (1.4)

2.7 (1.1)

2.7 (1.0)

Number of members

4.7 (2.0)

4.9 (1.9)

4.3 (1.7)

4.6 (1.5)

Days of illness per adult

4.8 (6.2)

3.6 (6.1)

11.2 (24.6)

16.5 (38.7)

Years of education (adults ≥ 16 years old)

5.6 (2.9)

6.2 (3.1)

6.0 (3.5)

5.5 (2.9)

Total income (USD)a

2,607 (2,299)

2,448 (2,884)

1,432 (1,243)

4,207 (6,347)

Total value of livestock (USD)b

309 (1,325)

80 (262)

89 (279)

7 (17)

Total land controlled (ha)c

2.4 (3.6)

5.1 (7.2)

1.3 (1.5)

1.3 (1.3)

Total value of transportation assets (USD)

250 (409)

145 (130)

257 (363)

308 (420)

Percentage of households with:

Mobile or fixed phoned










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.

d Only mobile phones, with limited service in KKT1 and KKT2. Landline connections did not exist in study villages.

e KKT1 and KKT2 had communally managed generators; KKT3 and KKT4 were connected to an electricity grid.

According to our village survey, forests within village boundaries have decreased compared to two years prior to the survey due to logging, conversion to agriculture and forest fires. This mostly affected the buffer zone of the Katingan Project. Some informants, however, thought that there was forest regeneration due to a logging ban enforced in 2005. Across all sampled households, consumption of forest products and cash income from forests generally decreased or stayed the same in the two years prior to the survey. Dependence on fuelwood for cooking was high, ranging from 82%–97% of sampled households in the study villages.

During times of economic difficulty, some household members in the study villages migrated north to work as laborers in oil palm plantations and small-scale gold mines. For example, the exodus of people from KKT1 in 2010 looking for work was primarily to oil palm plantations and mines in the north. In the south of the project area (e.g. KKT2 and KKT3) there were few employment options compared to other villages in the north (e.g. KKT1 and KKT4). This is because their area has deep peatlands, where the establishment of oil palm plantations is discouraged. Many community members migrate to the north to find short-term/seasonal work. Among our study villages, KKT3 had the lowest average income and the lowest proportion of sampled households that reported a sufficient level of well-being.

During our last visit in 2014, communities in KKT2–4 were approached by oil palm companies, who were interested in opening plantations in village areas within the Katingan Project’s proposed project area. If the Katingan Project could secure an ERC on the Kotim side, their efforts for protecting forests could include limiting the presence of oil palm plantations in villages (e.g. KKT3 and KKT4). Key informants in the three affected study villages felt oil palm plantations could provide jobs and new economic opportunities. Local people in one study village preferred oil palm plantations to the Katingan Project; in another village they were open to both oil palm plantations and the Katingan Project; in another village, local people chose to weigh up their options while observing how the Katingan Project unfolds.

18.4 Challenges facing the initiative

As one of the ‘first movers’ from the private sector to implement REDD+ in Indonesia, the Katingan Project was faced with myriad challenges similar to those encountered by Rimba Raya (Chapter 20). The most well known was the five-year process of securing an ERC license, which at the end only covered half of the peat dome proposed by the initiative. Experts have argued that the boundaries of ERC licenses should be based on a different paradigm than other types of forestry concessions (Sugiharto 2013; Sigit 2014). The ERC business model is starkly different from most (extractive) forestry concessions and needs to take into account biophysical and social aspects of forest restoration activity (Sugiharto 2013; Sigit 2014). The government’s reluctance to approve an ERC over a large area (> 100,000 ha) was reportedly due to its concern that the initiative will not be able to fund and manage such a large area, and – based on a previous ERC case in Jambi – may have serious problems with local communities (Noviani 2013; Sugiharto 2013). Furthermore, MoFor stated when it was awarding concession areas, it had to consider equity among companies requesting forest concessions (Noviani 2013). In the media, PT.RMU highlighted its efforts in getting a license ‘by the book,’ that is, without bribing, pulling strings or taking shortcuts. They argue that this ‘by the book’ approach partially explains the long delay in obtaining a license (TedxJaksel 2012; Butler 2013).

Timing is an issue. The delay in issuing the license combined with the slow development of voluntary carbon markets have meant that local communities have not been able to see tangible economic benefits from REDD+ to date. This contrasts unfavorably with local experience of very real employment benefits from competing land uses, such as oil palm.

High costs have been another challenge for the initiative (See Box C on REDD+ in-depth costing, which estimates the cost of this initiative). These included large up-front costs incurred for the large license fee of approximately USD 1.8 million,10 setting up MRV systems, and creating new methodologies suitable for their REDD+ strategy and conditions (Butler 2013). Key informants who worked for the Katingan Project noted potentially large additional operating costs due to weak law enforcement against illegal land uses.

18.5 Lessons from the initiative

We draw attention to two notable features of the PT.RMU experience in establishing the Katingan Project. First, the political and economic considerations that influence boundary delineation for ERC licenses are inconsistent with the ecological desirability of protecting entire, rather than just parts of, peat domes. Despite PT.RMU’s persistence, good communication approach and careful attention to the licensing process, their story highlights that acquiring an ERC license to implement REDD+ is difficult for large peat domes (>100,000 ha) in Indonesia. But currently, the ERC is the only alternative available to the private sector and NGOs for securing the right to protect forests zoned for production or conversion.

The government is reluctant to issue licenses over large areas, even if it is for forest restoration purposes. A recent ministerial decree limits the ERC to 50,000 ha per license, and up to two licenses per company (MoFor 2014b).11 This is an impediment to Indonesia’s ability to implement REDD+ effectively on peatlands, the degradation of which contributes at least 22% of Indonesia’s annual GHG emissions. This regulation disadvantages peat domes larger than 50,000 ha (e.g. all the REDD+ sites we studied in Central Kalimantan), because it requires multiple licenses, which are likely to drive up transactions costs for conservation and rehabilitation initiatives. Large peatlands store more carbon and may need to be prioritized for protection and rehabilitation.

The concession model underlying MoFor’s ERC regulations is traditionally focused on the timber industry model of extractive logging or timber plantations. In the typical forest concession model, the size and location of the concession determines economies of scale and harvest volume. If the concession area granted is smaller or different than the proposed area, it can reduce profits. In a similar way, the fulfillment of the purpose of an ERC can be undermined by issuing a concession area that is too small for ecological reasons, which has economic implications. The boundary size and location of an ERC relative to a peat dome is a large factor in determining the effectiveness of reducing emissions from peatlands, which in turn affects the amount of funds they can access from the carbon market.

The second feature of PT.RMU’s experience relates to building REDD+ readiness and engaging with local communities. The initiative’s intentions to engage and establish long-term partnerships with local communities were hindered by the delayed licensing process. Before the ERC license was issued, PT.RMU could not directly implement community-based activities and had to communicate using indirect means. Despite this, they had to maintain a presence in order to preserve their relationship with the communities. Even though activities by local communities are not the most important threat to peatlands, those communities are important allies in holding off larger threats, such as large-scale peatland conversion to oil palm plantations. One of the strategies the initiative used to launch community-based activities while waiting for the license was to work with an NGO. The NGO, Yayasan Puter, could operate independently and conduct ‘no harm’ activities that empower communities in the short-term and – when the time comes – facilitate the implementation of the Katingan Project.

18.6 Acknowledgments

We would like to thank a number of people and institutions, who made it possible for us to gather data and write this chapter. Thanks to our wonderful enumerators (Fatly Detris, Lenariansy, Samuel Tampung, Susanti, Jantrio Cristo, Erna Yuliarti, Lamretta Gultom and Afrilyadi Ekowibowo) research assistants (Selamet and Mambang Rena) and data entry technician (Mella Komalasari), for their perseverance, patience, hard work and attention to detail. We are grateful to our key informants (PT.RMU, Yayasan Puter, Katingan District Development and Planning Agency, Katingan District of Forestry Services, Katingan District Environmental Agency, Katingan District Marine and Fisheries Services, Katingan District Agricultural Services, Katingan District REDD+ Task Force, AMAN Kotawaringin Timur and the Council for Monitoring Indonesian Government Administrators/Dewan Pemantau Penyelenggara Negara Indonesia) for their willingness to share their knowledge and time with us, and to the residents of our study villages for their hospitality and generosity as hosts, key informants and survey respondents. We are also grateful to our reviewers (Ida Aju Pradnja Resosudarmo, Rezal Kusumaatmadja, Agus Djoko Ismanto and Daniel Murdiyarso), who shared their knowledge and made many helpful suggestions to improve this chapter.

1 Also known as the Katingan Peatland Restoration and Conservation REDD Project.

2 The bark of the gemor peat swamp tree (Alseodaphne sp) is sold for producing mosquito coils. It is harvested by cutting down the tree and removing the bark in situ. The bark is sold wet or dry.

3 The cucak hijau or the greater green leafbird (Chloropsis sonnerati) is captured from the wild and sold to bird enthusiasts across Indonesia. Competitions are held to judge the male birds’ singing abilities.

4 Authors’ calculations using data from BPS Katingan (2013b).

5 Authors’ calculations using data from Table 12.1 in BPS Katingan (2012a).

6 These factors are needed to show additionality (i.e. emissions would have been higher without the initiative).

7 Small, hand-dug 1–2 m wide ditches used to transport logs out of forest into larger waterways (e.g. secondary or primary rivers). These ditches can be a few kilometers long. They contribute to peatland drainage, which could lead to its degradation.

8 See Chapter 17 (KFCP), describing the role of canals and ditches (tatas) in causing peatland degradation and GHG emissions.

9 Kalteng is an abbreviation for Kalimantan Tengah, or Central Kalimantan.

10 Estimate based on the list of 1998 non-tax income (Penerimaan Negara Bukan Pajak/PNPB): ((IDR 50,000/ha x 100,000ha) + (IDR 62,500 x 8255 ha)) x 3 periods (life of concession) = IDR 16,547,812,500 or USD 1.82 million (1 USD = 9090 IDR). One period is 20 years (GoI 1998; Ministry of Forestry and Estate Crops 1999; and personal communication with Noah Geenberg, Starling Resources, September 2014).

11 Except in Papua, where a company can have at most two licenses at 100,000 ha for each license.


Box H
REDD+ in Indonesia: The national context