The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve’s project developer, InfiniteEARTH Limited, announced an aggressive plan to reforest an initial 2,400 hectares, increasing to 10,000 hectares over the next ten years. Prior to the project’s start date, peatlands had been deteriorated by traditional shifting agriculture, as well as fires caused by the oil palm burning seasons of 2015 and 2019, both of which saw Singapore enveloped in smoke for months at a time.
The innovative agroforestry plan aims for the establishment of community farms based on the “Jungle Crop” model, which calls for a 50 percent density of mixed, native income crops with natural regrowth.
The new Five-Year Plan, which was made possible by a collaboration between Carbon Streaming Corporation and InfiniteEARTH, makes it easier for PT Rimba Raya Conservation to meet its Restoration Concession License obligations, promotes economic diversification and autonomy for local forest-dependent communities, and advances Indonesia’s climate and sustainability goals.
According to the plan, the agroforestry effort will get $10 million in funding over the next five years, with $2 million available to begin development right away. InfiniteEARTH has conducted a one-year feasibility study that found 16 native cash crop species, including Rambutan, Gembor, Durian, Jengkol, and Cempedak, which all grow naturally in the region and have readily available markets. Drilling freshwater wells for irrigation during the dry season accounts for a considerable amount of the expenditure. The wells will also aid in fire suppression in sections of the Reserve that were previously inaccessible.
To far, the Project has made significant investments in fire prevention and suppression, including purchasing equipment and training for town fire departments, as well as collaborating and coordinating with the Tanjung Puting National Park and the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) (TNTP-SPTN 2). Nonetheless, due to the physical constraints of fire hoses and pumps, each burning season poses major issues when fires start more than 1km from the main water source, the Seruyan River. As a result, project management will be able to control fires caused by the oil palm burning season by funding a network of wellheads throughout the project area.
The proposal also includes financing for a 100 percent increase in Rimba Raya’s annual budget for its floating health clinic, in addition to the reforestation/agroforestry effort. The clinic will be furnished with more modern medical equipment, supplies, and people, in addition to increasing trip frequency. The new effort will support significant eye and dental surgeries, which have been identified as the two most pressing medical needs in the Rimba Raya Reserve’s neighboring communities.
The plan also includes a major annual payment to the Tanjung Puting National Park for its work in partnership with Rimba Raya, in order to further support all local conservation initiatives. Finally, the new plan calls for a 100 percent increase in Rimba Raya’s existing yearly education scholarship budget.