Tropenbos Ketapang Project is part of Pawan Pesaguan Landscapes which consists of complex forest ecosystems including peatland and peat swamp. The area is rich in biodiversity, but it is at high risk due to deforestation and forest degradation activities that threaten the forest ecosystems.
The Rimba Collective is working with Tropenbos Indonesia through a community-based forest management approach to preserve the remaining forest areas and restore the degraded areas. The project aims to build good management of village forests and their surroundings to maintain and improve forest ecological functions and the community's wellbeing.
Tropenbos Ketapang Project site consists of four village forests: Wana Gambut Village Forest in Sungai Pelang, Rawa Gambut Village Forest in Sungai Besar, Pematang Gadung Village Forest in Pematang Gadung, and Pangkalan Telok Village Forest. The forest area of 14,406 hectares is located in Ketapang Regency, West Kalimantan province, Indonesia.
All villages are accessible by car and from Ketapang District. The journey takes around 30–45 minutes to Sungai Pelang, Sungai Besar, and Pematang Gadung Village, but up to four hours to reach Pangkalan Telok Village. To get into the wilderness of the Village Forests, from its villages, the trip may take around an hour by motorbike during dry season and about two and a half hours during wet season. Pematang Gadung Village Forest is only accessible by speed boat.
Three out of the four village forests are the few remaining peat forest ecosystems with a depth of more than three meters. The village forest ecosystems are separated from the other ecosystems, surrounded by various land uses.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), peatlands in their natural wet state provide indispensable ecological functions, including regulating water flows, minimizing the risk of flooding and drought, and preserving air quality. Peatlands are the largest natural terrestrial carbon store, and restoring peatland can reduce emissions significantly to combat climate change and achieve other Sustainable Development Goals.
These village forest areas are the natural habitats for various endangered species such as orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), pangolins (Pholidota), bears (Helarctos malayanus), proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus), and others. However, the village forest areas are facing threats including forest encroachment, illegal logging, illegal mining activities, land clearing for agriculture using slash-and-burn methods, and expansion of timber and oil palm plantations.
The Rimba Collective provides a means for LPHD (Village Forest Management Institution) to have access to alternative sources of finance for capacity building, salaries, equipment, and the development of livelihood activities needed for effective forest management which will ensure forest and peatland in the Village Forest areas are protected and restored.
The Rimba Collective, together with Tropenbos Indonesia, aims to protect and conserve the village forest areas from deforestation and forest degradation threats by helping the community to:
The project will implement a variety of activities to address the root causes of deforestation threats while improving community livelihoods and advancing the governance and management of village forests: