Approximately 64% of Indonesia's land area (120.6 million hectares) is designated as forest, categorized as production forest (68.8 million hectares), protection forest (29.7 million hectares), and conservation forest (22.1 million hectares); this includes 13.3 million hectares of peatland. Substantial forest management authority in Indonesia lies at the provincial level, where good forest governance models are tied to sustainable economic development. These models are essential for meeting Indonesia’s national and international climate and biodiversity targets, yet have proven difficult to demonstrate. WCS-IP’s landscapes, located in the provinces of Aceh, North Sumatra, Lampung, Gorontalo, and North Sulawesi, exemplify the economic and environmental challenges faced by provincial governments. These ‘Nature Strongholds’ contain large intact forest areas that are threatened by several factors. This often leads to forest loss and fragmentation, increasing smallholder farmer and poacher access, human-wildlife conflicts, and retaliatory killings of wildlife, as well as creating an additional interface for disease spillover.
A complete loss and fragmentation of natural habitats impact wide-ranging species, such as tigers and elephants. For example, it disrupts essential ecosystem services, especially in watershed forests, which increases flooding frequency. It also raise the likelihood of zoonotic disease spillover and future epidemics and pandemic.
A range of barriers undermine efforts to conserve forests and terrestrial biodiversity in Indonesia. This includes insufficient resource allocation and planning for both human resources and financial resources; the lack of effectiveness in monitoring and evaluation of protected area management; and the economic pressures associated with rural poverty and agribusiness growth around protected area borders. The limited transparency of commodity supply chains and a lack of clarity over protected area boundaries and land tenure in associated buffer zones also exacerbate forest conversion pressures in these areas.
The Forests Program is being implemented to support the Government in five forest and biodiversity-rich landscapes: Leuser, Bukit Barisan Selatan, Way Kambas, Bogani Nani, and Rote Island, with support extended to Tangkoko-Batuangus Nature Reserve in North Sulawesi. Core activities include strengthening protected area and wildlife management, implementing a Sustainable Landscapes program that addresses infrastructure development and smallholder farmland expansion and operating a Conservation Evidence Unit that provides data analyses, monitoring and evaluation, and assistance for national policy reform.