Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve
Based on the island of Borneo in Indonesia, this REDD+ project preserves carbon-dense tropical peat swamp by helping to halt deforestation of roughly 47,000 hectares of forest originally slated for conversion to palm oil plantations. The project focuses on both community development and biodiversity conservation, particularly the protection of the endangered Borneo Orangutan. In order to deliver on its goals, the project actively engages local communities to improve food security, income opportunities, health care, and education.
View our video for further information about this project:
The Palm Oil Debate
Nearly 85% of global palm oil production currently comes largely from Indonesia and Malaysia, with the industry predicted to double by 2020. Meanwhile, a large percentage of palm oil expansion in these two countries occurred at the expense of virgin and biodiverse forests, many of which lie on top of carbon-dense peat bogs.
In addition to the released carbon emissions, palm oil conversion causes a host of other ecological problems, often irreversible, including destruction and fragmentation of habitat for endangered species, soil erosion and increased sedimentation in rivers, air pollution from forest fires, soil and water pollution from heavy use of pesticides and dumping of untreated palm oil-mill effluent, and increasing flood frequency. The water pollution and flood frequency has a measurable impact on downstream agricultural productivity and the welfare of communities. In addition, after approximately 20-25 years, the palm oil plantations are often no longer productive and they must move to new areas, as the soils can take many years to recover.
To learn more about Palm Oil, use the interactive app on The Guardian website to trace the journey of palm oil from the rainforest through to every day business and household applications.