Couple forest protection with jobs to boost appeal, experts say

21 August 2014

SERYUYAN/JAKARTA, Indonesia (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Schemes to reduce climate-changing emissions from deforestation will attract more local support if they offer jobs and concrete income opportunities for forest people, Indonesian villagers and experts say.

Indonesians who live in forested areas are increasingly faced with a choice between paid labour on a plantation or participating in a forest protection initiative that could improve their livelihoods down the line.

Until recently, plantation work seemed the best option for many, but that may be starting to change as schemes that compensate communities for safeguarding forests get up and running.

In Ulak Batu village in the Seruyan district of Central Kalimantan, local people worked as fishermen for many decades before an oil palm plantation was set up nearby in 2007. In the main, they shifted to labouring on the plantation because their fish catches were gradually decreasing due to pollution in the Seruyan River, attributed to plantation waste.

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