After four years of planning, Indonesia announced at the U.N. climate talks in Doha, Qatar that it will set aside land, roughly the size of Singapore, as part of a rainforest conservation project. The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve, in Central Kalimantan province on Borneo island, will protect close to 200,000 acres of land and Indonesia will be rewarding investors with tradable carbon credits that they can use for profit or decreasing their own carbon footprint.
“We hope projects like Rimba Raya will lead the way in proving that conservation can address the rural development needs of the communities and also preserve our forests for generations to come,” Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said in a statement.
This has been a significant step in protecting Indonesia’s landscape, as the country houses the world’s third-largest tropical rainforest. Unfortunately, these forests are disappearing at a fast rate as there is a rush to grow more food and people are keen on exploiting their timber and mineral wealth. By protecting the forests, Indonesia will be playing a role in curbing global warming as forest clearance is a source of greenhouse gases.
“This is a small but significant step in terms of contributing to the government’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and showing that larger volumes of forest carbon credits can be sold to credible buyers,” said Andrew Wardell, program director, forests and governance, at the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia, to Reuters.