Aerial view of rain forest with a foggy horizon
The forests of Borneo represent irreplaceable biodiversity, but are threatened by unsustainable economic activity.

Sustainable forestry and biodiversity in Borneo

Bringing conservation finance to sustainable forestry in Borneo

The Sustainable Forest and Biodiversity Management in Borneo (SFBMB) project worked to strengthen local capacity to conserve forests and endangered species by applying conservation financing mechanisms and empowering local communities to plan and manage their resources sustainably

The forests in the Kapuas Hulu and Malinau Districts of Borneo are home to incredible biodiversity and an enormous array of critically endangered species. However, the massive economic potential of these forests also puts them under immense pressure, with logging and the conversion of land to oil palm plantations representing two of the forests' biggest threats. The Sustainable Forest and Biodiversity Management in Borneo (SFBMB) Project sought to encourage the use of these forests by local communities in sustainable ways to reduce deforestation, provide new livelihoods, and bring the management of these vital resources into local hands.

Forests and waterways coexist in complex ecosystems, all of which are harmed by logging and conversion to palm oil plantations. Pictured here: flooded Borneo forests

SFBMB set out to link community-managed forests and biodiversity resources to different forms of conservation finance as well as to make sustainable forest management a more rewarding and less destructive alternative to forest exploitation and resource extraction. This process involved training and capacity building, allowing for tangible progress during the programme that demonstrated the value of adopting new forestry practices to the local communities.

The Sustainable Forest and Biodiversity Management in Borneo Project had three principal aims:

  • strengthening capacity and institutions for sustainable forest and biodiversity management;
  • designing schemes for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation at the local level;
  • and developing pilot areas for sustainable financing schemes for forest and biodiversity management.

One concrete outcome is that Nanga Lauk and Punan Long Adiu are the first two community-level organisations in Indonesia to have access to international carbon markets because they have secured Plan Vivo certification, an international standard based on sustainable forest and biodiversity management. Another such outcome is the sale of carbon credits to Cargill through the Sustainable Commodities Conservation Mechanism (SCCM), which will finance 25 years of conservation operations for a community forestry project through investments in new livelihoods such as ecotourism and wild forest products. Finally, SFBMB supported the creation of Voluntary Conservation Areas, another programme that further provides the potential to tap into international conservation finance.

A part of the SFBMB Programme was to link local livelihoods to sustainable practices and activities. Pictured here: ratan weaving

Beyond helping to secure access to finance, SFBMB supported routes to improved livelihoods. Infrastructure for ecotourism activities (including homestays, walkways, observation tracks, and boats) have been constructed with project funds. To ensure a lasting impact, the programme helped to strengthen the local support network, assisting the communities in establishing tenure and land use rights, and building capacity at the community, non-government organisation, and government levels.


tonnes of CO2 per year in saleable reduced emissions

Some of the most important intended outcomes of the project were improved community well-being and knowledge, a strong and positive attitude towards sustainable forest and biodiversity management within target communities, and an enhanced capacity amongst resource managers in government organisations across the four provinces and 17 districts of Kalimantan. Ultimately, the project has contributed significantly to the Indonesian government’s ambitions for community-based forest management across the 12 million hectares of hutan desa/masyarakat adat (village/customary) forests, by demonstrating methods for conserving Indonesia’s forest biodiversity that can be widely replicated across the region.

Accessing the dense forest is often difficult without infrastructure, so other creative modes of transport are used. Pictured here: forest patrol canoes