Reforestation Contributing to Sustainable Development of Local Communities in Indonesia: CI’s Green Wall Project - Yasushi Hibi


Since 2008, Conservation International has promoted a “Green Wall Project” in the Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park, Java, Indonesia with the support of Daikin Industries, Ltd.  This project aims at the sustainable conservation of forests by decreasing development pressure on the National Park arising from migrants and encroachers, illegal logging, poaching and illegal and legal conversion of land use to farmlands. This is achieved through creating a “Green Wall” through forestation in the buffer zones adjacent to the National Park, mainly consisting of precious natural forests. 


The Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park, located 80km south of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, has an area of approximately 20,000 ha.  The area is home to endemic endangered species such as the Javan gibbon (Hylobates moloch) , Javan hawk-eagle (Spixaetus bartelsi)and Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas), all designated as endangered species on the IUCN Red List.  Also the area is one of the last portions of forest on the island of Java, and is classified as a “biodiversity hotspot” which has the highest priority on earth for conservation.  At the same time, the project site also serves as gigantic natural reservoir that prevents flooding during the rainy season and continuously provides water during the dry season for the residents in the surrounding areas and in the downstream urban areas.  



During Phase 1 of the Green Wall Project until 2011, 200 ha of land adjacent to the National Park was reforested. In Phase 2 since 2011, we added another 100 ha of reforested land, in order to rehabilitate the gap between the National Park and the Phase 1 project site, creating a “biodiversity corridor”, a landscape scale ecosystem.  This reforestation approach, based on elaborate research, has not only increased the number of trees but also is effectively conserving one of the world’s pre-eminent forest ecosystems.  This project also aims at continuously providing clean water to future generations as well as the residents in the area through sustaining and restoring “ecological services” including water recharging and water purification function by the forest.  Reforestation of the degraded lands will also contribute to the mitigation of climate change by sequestering and fixing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as carbon sinks.



The project not only aims at conservation of the forest but also supports sustainable development of local communities where household income in the region is often less than 50 US dollars per month.  Through the project, we develop alternative livelihoods including sustainable agriculture (such as cucumber, cassava, and ginger), agroforestry (planting fruit trees in addition to planting local forest tree species), livestock breeding, and freshwater fish farming.  Freshwater fish farming became available as a result of reforestation of the watershed.  Improved access to water resource through reforestation of the watershed also enabled the provision of electricity and clean water to adjacent villages as the project supported introduction of pico hydropower generators and waterpipes.




This project is also quite unique in a sense that it encourages consumers in Japan to indirectly participate in forest conservation in Indonesia.  Daikin’s top-of-the-line energy saving air conditioner users can indirectly participate in supporting the project by choosing to run their air conditioner on “eco-friendly” mode, which at certain point the user will be recognized by the project as a supporter.


We are making every effort to sustain the effectiveness of this project and maintain the balance of conservation and livelihoods.  This is done through the environmental education component targeting local communities and schools so that they can deepen understanding about the importance of forest ecosystems and the importance to conserve them.


(Yasushi Hibi, Managing Director, Conservation International Japan)