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Realizing East Kalimantan’s Green Vision through Localized Forest Management

Two-thirds of Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province is covered by forests. These forests play a vital role in the storage of carbon and advancement of biodiversity as well as providing forest communities with homes and livelihoods. The management of Indonesia’s forests has become steadily decentralized in recent decades in an effort to enhance economic outputs and reduce deforestation. East Kalimantan’s new Forest Management Unit Centre intends to strengthen local authorities’ ability to profit economically while protecting forests from threats, such as illegal logging, land encroachment, and fires.

Most of Indonesia’s forests are “production forests” in which extractive economic activities are permitted. According to the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, limited law enforcement capacity and other weaknesses in forest management have led to degradation— from mining and illegal logging to the establishment of new plantations on forested land. The view of forests as a source of timber‑based economic returns is too limited, and a more holistic management of forest landscape is needed to capture and safeguard the value of their ecosystem services.

The Indonesian government perceives the establishment and strengthening of localized forest management units (FMUs) ascritical to gaining more effective and

sustainable management. Fully operational the FMUs work as public service agencies that attract and manage investment and development in forests. Most of the units are business-oriented, seeking investment from private license holders, state-owned enterprises, or communities themselves; some take protection of forests as their primary function, prioritizing investment in ecosystem services and promoting the sustainable use of forest products, such as rattan, bamboo, gum, agarwood, honey, and medicinal plants.

Additionally, FMUs involve local communities in the sustainable management of forests. Community members can become active participants in the governance of the resources, including the monitoring and reporting of forest inventories and prevention of illegal logging.

East Kalimantan’s new Forest Management Unit (FMU) Centre will backstop and strengthen the work of FMUs throughout the province. In 2018, the center began delivering trainings designed to build up the capacity of FMUs in long-term forest management planning, develop and apply strategic plans, and incorporate emission reductions in economic activities in forests. To date, there are nine FMUs—from a total of twenty-one FMUs in this province—that have already finalized their long-term plans, covering the management of 3,854,704 hectares of forests, from a total of 8,157,019 hectares.


“These trainings and workshops are expected to improve the capacity of FMUs to plan and formulate business plans and manage the forest in a sustainable manner, contributing to emission reductions,” said Duratma Momo, an official with the East Kalimantan Forestry Office, at the first workshop held at the FMU Centre.

The opening of the FMU Centre is a primary example of the green growth and low-carbon development that Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning has been stimulating over the past five years. Stronger community engagement is expected to improve management and governance as well as preserve and restore the sustainable, ecologically-sound productivity of forest resources.

The Global Green Growth Institute has been supporting the government in setting up the provincial FMU Centre and helped design forest management plans for East Kalimantan. The process has now been replicated in Central Kalimantan.

“Indonesian officials have a vision to make East Kalimantan a green province by 2045. GGGI is adding its experience and expertise here, at the provincial level, to enhance skills and capacity to deal with challenges and achieve the green vision,” said Benjamin Tular, Forest and Land Use Lead at GGGI Indonesia.

Since 2013, GGGI in Indonesia has been partnering and working closely with the Ministry of National Development Planning as its focal point, mainstreaming green growth and low-carbon development into the country’s national—as well as regional—development plans.

In 2018, GGGI began facilitating the preparation of the National Medium-Term

Development Plan 2020–2024, as part of ongoing support under the joint Government of Indonesia–GGGI Green Growth Program. This support includes an advisory role in the strategic process of the nation-wide rationalization of forest land designation, which will assist Indonesia in working to enhance landscape‑based planning.

The establishment and strengthening of FMUs will significantly enhance the capacity to implement this
planning. GGGI will continue to support national and regional governments to ensure the development and
sustainability of FMU operations under the umbrella of green growth and low-carbon development as well as the endeavor to improve Indonesia’s forest governance.

East Kalimantan’s FMU Centre intends to continue its capacity-building workshops, enabling more of the
province’s forest management units to fully take up their roles in regulating forest use, providing business services to local communities, and helping sustain the forests that 80–95 million Indonesians rely on for their livelihoods.

“We are also working with the FMUs on ideas and plans for protecting forests as part of sustainable landscapes in which the ecosystem services provided by the forests will be recognized and managed and thus help sustain businesses in other sectors,” adds Tular.

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