The Heart of Borneo: what is it worth?



Posted on 06 January 2011  | 

A diverse audience of 55 people gathered in Jakarta from 1-3 December with a view to answer that very important question.

The three-day ‘kick-off’ workshop, ‘The Economics of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services to guide Policy, Finance and Private Sector Decision-making in the Heart of Borneo Landscape’, was hosted by WWF-Indonesia and included a diverse range of participants across the various sessions.

Development partners (UKG, DFID, FAO, UNDP, UN-REDD) and government agencies (Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Public Works) joined the opening sessions.

Also in attendance were international consulting firms PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Hatfield and Witteveen+Bos, representatives from University of Indonesia and staff from WWF US, Malaysia and Indonesia.

This first day focused on the HoB’s approach to building a ‘Green Economy’ and the important role of ecosystems services in this process. Presentations from HoB Leader Adam Tomasek and Dr Andrew Thurley (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) as well as Anna van Paddenburg (WWF HoB Sustainable Finance Leader) and Nirmal Bhagabati (WWF US, InVEST specialist) provided a broad overview of the key strategic considerations specific to the HoB area.

The subsequent two days saw WWF staff, partners and external experts continue to address links between ecosystem services and a green economy and learn about InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs), a GIS tool which maps out and assesses the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services within any given landscape.

WWF staff from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Jakarta, Kalimantan, Sumatra and Papua also played a crucial role in providing realistic context and extensive expertise to the discussions.

Setting the Scenarios

The workshop brought the HoB and partners closer to developing a range of genuine ‘scenarios’ which help predict potential future development alternatives. Scenarios aim to present such alternatives as, “how will the landscape look in 30 years if we don’t consider ecosystem services in development plans and how will it look if we do?”

It is hoped that these scenarios will assist in drawing a direct link between value of each ecosystem service (such as watershed, carbon stocks, soil and climate) and its impact upon the local economy and livelihoods.

Leading up to the second round of workshops planned for March 2011, the HoB team and other key partners will be working with key decision makers within the government and private sectors, to expand and further create scenarios relevant to their development objectives and resource uses.

It is hoped that the outcomes will be used to pursue spatially explicit, measurable targets which ensure equitable development and maintain nature’s valuable biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Why Natural Capital?

The Heart of Borneo Initiative seeks to encourage the development of an economic environment whereby the forests of Borneo are worth more standing than cut down. The tropical rainforests in the Heart of Borneo are rich in natural capital which is of great value to all three Bornean countries (Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei).

To be able to integrate the value of nature, all stakeholders (governments, business and communities) who play a role in the management of this landscape need to better understand the economic value of biodiversity and ecosystem services, its potential for carbon emission reduction and the distribution of ecosystem services to users and beneficiaries.
Forest range within the Heart of Borneo
© R.J. Alfred/WWF-Malaysia Enlarge

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