The role of the private sector is critical to the future of the Heart of Borneo. Indeed, the revenues from the exploitation of Borneo’s natural resources have helped develop the region over the last few decades. But a change is needed for this development to be sustainable in the long term.
© WWF/Simon Rawles
Business solutions for sustainable forestrySales of timber and other forest products from the Heart of Borneo have contributed to economic growth, helping to lift many households out of poverty.
However, this valuable resource is declining. A new model of sustainable forest use is required to ensure that companies and the governments of Borneo can continue to rely on their forest resources to provide revenue without reducing the potential for future growth.
Forestry in the Heart of Borneo
- The forestry sector manages the most land of any sector operating inside the HoB, and therefore has the greatest opportunities for sustainable use, but also the greatest risks in the absence of good practice.
- Sustainable logging of natural forests is a good example of how the standing forests can provide long term revenues while maintaining a large proportion of the forests values.
- Plantation area is increasing across Borneo to meet the growing demand for timber, and fibre for paper mills. It is essential that the expansion of mill capacity is matched by commensurate increases in sustainable plantations. Critically, to ensure supply meets demand without putting pressure on high conservation value forests, plantations need to be planned, sustainably located and planted long before pulp mills are constructed.
- International demand for sustainable forest products is increasing, WWF’s GFTN member companies trade overUSD 70 billion of forest products every year, 40% of which is FSC certified, an estimated USD 28 billion of FSC materials.
Recommendations for sustainable forestry in the Heart of Borneo
- Logging activities should be avoided in high conservation value forests, and elsewhere reduced impact logging and sustainable forest management should be implemented to minimise environmental impacts.
- Plantations should not replace high conservation value forests, and should instead be cultivated on the available idle land. WWF’s ‘New Generation Plantations’ programme can provide the basis for good plantation management.
- Investors, traders and consumers should help drive sustainable management through financing and sourcing FSC certified production.
© Rob Webster / WWF
Business solutions for sustainable palm oilPalm oil plantations dominate large parts of Borneo’s landscape. There are more than 3.6 million ha of palm oil plantations across an area that was once lowland tropical forest.
Without the appropriate planning and regulation, palm oil expansion could threaten the integrity of the Heart of Borneo.
WWF recognises that the industry continues to be a major contributor to the economic and social development of the communities in Borneo. There is however, increasing awareness of the environmental and economic costs brought about by the conversion of high conservation value areas.
Palm oil in the Heart of Borneo
- The palm oil industry in Borneo has undergone rapid growth, and continues to expand to meet growing world demand. Indonesia’s and Malaysia’s palm oil production amounts to 85% of the global supply and production in Borneo in 2008 was 16.5 million tonnes, representing more than a third of this.
- Palm oil plantations require the complete conversion of land use; if concessions are placed in high conservation value areas it can result in a significant loss of ecosystem value. The challenge for the governments’ vision enshrined in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Declaration is to ensure that as the cultivated area increases, adequate protection is given to the HoB.
- Future revenues from the industry can be maintained and even increased, by concentrating on increasing productivity, particularly amongst small holders, expanding plantations on idle lands and developing downstream processing industries to add value without increasing pressure to convert natural forests.
Recommendations for sustainable palm oil in the Heart of Borneo
- Government planners should ensure concessions are not allocated in high conservation value areas of the HoB, but rather on idle land with low conservation values.
- A shift to sustainable production, independently certified through the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), will result in improved environmental performance on existing and new plantations.
- Investors, traders and consumers should help drive sustainable management through financing and sourcing certified production.
© WWF CARO
Business solutions for responsible miningMining has made an important contribution to the economic development of Borneo, providing export revenue, jobs, and resources for power generation. However, the environmental impacts of mining have been severe.
There is a growing recognition that continued economic development in Borneo will be contingent on significant improvements in the environmental and social practices of companies and individuals operating there.
The challenge for the governments’ vision for conservation and sustainable use enshrined in the HoB Declaration is to ensure that as producers turn their attention to deposits within the HoB, careful spatial planning is conducted, and good regulations are developed and/ or are rigorously and consistently enforced.
Mining in the Heart of Borneo
- The Indonesian and Malaysian governments are both considering increasing their mining production from deposits in Borneo, particularly that of coal. There are more than 1,100,000 ha of coal concessions within the HoB, of these, 980,000 ha, are in the research or exploration phase, indicating the potential future growth and impact of the industry in the HoB.
- WWF believes that due to the high carbon emissions from coal, its use as an energy source should be significantly reduced over time. However, in the short term, WWF recognises that coal will remain an important and relatively low-cost source of energy for developing countries.
- Illegal coal and gold mining has significant social and environmental impacts, along with economic consequences for governments and legitimate activities. National and regional governments need to continue to tackle illegal mining, while seeking to provide alternative livelihoods for the many rural poor who are involved.
Recommendations for sustainable mining in the Heart of Borneo
- Clear regulation and effective enforcement is needed across the region. For example, ensuring that the regulatory requirement for Environmental Impact Assessments and reclamation of land are consistently enforced.
- Heightened efforts are needed to control illegal mining. A specific example is the need to reduce mercury use by illegal gold miners and protect them from the adverse health effects.
- Mining companies should identify high conservation value forests before commencing mining operations and ensure an adequate management plan is put in place to protect the value of the area during mining operations and after they are completed.
- Mine rehabilitation needs to be planned logistically and financially well in advance of the commencement of mining operations.
© Didiek SURJANTO / WWF-Indonesia
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