26,000,000+ tons of CO2 emissions avoided to date
3,500,000 tons of CO2 avoided per year
- Location: Borneo, Indonesia
- Project Proponent(s): InfiniteEarth
- Standards: VCS, CCB
The Rimba Raya REDD+ project has successfully defended 64,500 hectares of carbon- and biodiversity-rich lowland peat forest from conversion to oil palm plantations, protecting over 120 threatened and endangered species in the project area. The project supports over 10,000 forest-dependent community members living in and along the boundaries of the project, who have traditionally held no tenure and who have used the forest in an unsustainable way. Rimba Raya is the world’s largest initiative to protect High Conservation Value (HCV) tropical lowland peat swamp forests, generating significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions and protecting the endangered Borneo Orangutan, and other IUCN Red List species. The project will generate 130m+ tonnes of Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) over 30 years , as well as approximately 10,000 forest-dependent community members. The project and adjacent Tanjung Puting National Park are completely surrounded by oil palm plantations, the primary deforestation agent in Borneo and throughout Indonesia.
Since 1973, over 400,000 hectares (nearly 16,000 square miles) of rainforest have been lost on the island of Borneo. Almost half of the forest loss on Borneo since 2000 has been to make way for oil palm plantations, which have devastated rainforests across all of Indonesia. In 2005, five oil palm concessions were awarded for the area that now comprises the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve, to a company that had previously illegally converted over 12,000 hectares of the adjacent Tanjung Puting National Park. Prior to the project, the entire area faced imminent deforestation. In addition, transmigrant communities living in and around the area were illegally logging the area and practicing unsustainable forms of fishing and other activities.
When the oil palm developer fell into default of their license in 2008, InfiniteEARTH managed to secure initial approval for a conservation concession license. In the three years that it took to finalize the application and approval process, the oil palm developer continued to illegally burn and convert over 35,000 hectares and then challenge InfiniteEARTH’s rights to the remaining 64,500 ha. Finally, in 2014, InfiniteEARTH was able to definitively secure the legal conservation concession rights to the project area, culminating in an official announcement by the Indonesian government at the Doha COP summit. This halting of an oil palm concession was an unprecedented achievement, and has paved the way for the project to begin supporting the communities in and around the project area to pave a path toward long term sustainable livelihoods — with the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve at the center.
With a model of environmental sustainability alongside community-centered economic growth, Rimba Raya is recognized as the largest REDD+ project in the world in terms of avoided emissions delivered to date. The project has protected nearly 65,000 hectares of peat swamp forest and avoided more than 130 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Rimba Raya is home to over 300 species of birds, 122 species of mammals and 180 species of trees and plants. While preserving the forest that shelters these species, they maintain a commitment to the protection of the endangered Bornean Orangutan.