A new standard to measure carbon for rainforests was launched Thursday at the West Bali National Park, an initiative that designates the island’s forest conservation site as the pilot project for research to develop a carbon credit mechanism.
Launched by the Consortium for Rainforest Standards in Indonesia, this landmark initiative is expected to help reduce the loss of Indonesia’s tropical forests and biodiversity.
It is also to provide a new way of generating income for the management of protected areas on a large scale, with full engagement of the private sector in its implementation.
The Rainforest Standard (RFS) is the world’s first carbon credit standard to fully integrate requirements and protocols for carbon accounting, sociocultural and socioeconomic impact, and biodiversity outcomes.
It was built from the ground up by Columbia University’s Center for Environment, Economy and Society; Bolivia’s PUMA Environmental Fund Foundation; Brazil’s Fund for Biodiversity; Colombia’s Environmental Action Fund; Ecuador’s National Environmental Fund; and Peru’s Trust Fund for National Parks and Protected Areas, to accommodate the ecological conditions and social realities of the Amazon region and the demands of emerging carbon markets.
To examine the RFS to be implemented in several types of site conditions, the consortium — the University of Columbia, University of Indonesia and Sustainable Management Group (SMG) with USAID funding support — agreed to undertake action research to develop Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) carbon credit using RFS.
The demonstration project, which contains quantifiable measurements, will represent carbon credit requirement information.
Jatna Supriatna, head of the University of Indonesia’s Research Center for Climate Change, explained to Bali Daily that the RFS was modified to adjust to conditions in Indonesia, including the local community and the forest model.
“This model will be tested/tried out at the West Bali National Park, considering that the park already has good management, with support from Sustainable Management Group.”
“We have set a target that within the next one year or two, we will have discovered the appropriate and standardized mechanism to develop carbon credits using the RFS system,” he said, explaining that in the future, the goal was to be able to sell the carbon on the voluntary market, with part of the proceeds from sales used for conservation of West Bali National Park.
“The most important thing is to protect the condition of the forest and its biodiversity, and prevent deforestation. Thorough monitoring should be conducted to detect any changes in the forest’s condition.”
He said UI’s research center had been training its experts and staffs to develop the RFS since last year.
West Bali National Park is located on the north-western side of Bali, covering around 190 square kilometers, of which 158 sq km is land and the remainder sea.
Tedy Sutedi, head of the park, welcomed the initiative to designate the park as the pilot project for research, saying that it would support the park’s management plan to reduce deforestation rates. He said that based on continuous monitoring, no deforestation occurred in the park, however, there were some cases of ornamental fish and wood thefts by locals.
“For the initial phase, only the area of Menjangan Resorts will be used as the research site, which comprises 309 hectares. The research site will be gradually expanded in the following years,” he told Bali Daily.
This is the launch of the RFS in Asia, putting Indonesia at the forefront of carbon emissions reduction efforts.
“Through this initiative, Indonesia is at the leading edge of preserving biodiversity and setting conservation standards,” said USAID mission director Andrew Sisson. “We believe that scientific collaboration between the US and Indonesia can help to address the challenge of global climate change.”
Indonesia’s forest is the third largest tropical rainforest in the world. It is therefore important not only for the national economy and local livelihoods, but also for the global environment. The Indonesian rainforests are also among the world’s richest in terms of biodiversity, and cover a significant proportion of the planet’s tropical deep peat.
Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said that Indonesian forests were ready to experience such an integrated standard of carbon credit that would reach the goals of conserving natural forest, its biodiversity and sustainable livelihood, as well as permanent reductions in carbon emissions.
“The Rainforest Standard is based on the fundamental understanding that the environment, economy, and society are ‘in it together’. This model was adapted with Indonesia’s ecology, economy and sociocultural context and will be ready to be used in Indonesian forests.”
He went on to say that the project would make it possible for Indonesia to see that an alternative financing mechanism could have the overarching goal to conserve natural forests, their biodiversity, and the sustainable livelihoods they provided, using real, additional and permanent reductions in carbon emissions resulting from forest conservation, to generate long-term revenue streams from the sale of forest carbon credits. [Desi Nurhayati|Bali Daily-The Jakarta Post]