Mbeiling forest in Flores, Indonesia is home to a wealth of wildlife including the Komodo Dragon. Our ‘mbelievable’ investment in micro-finance, community ownership and agroforestry is ensuring this unique landscape keeps blooming in the future.
Flores Island, Indonesia © Toni Wöhrl
This project is part of BirdLife International’s Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator initiative
As well as being the only place other than Komodo National Park where you can find the infamous Komodo Dragon, Indonesia’s Flores Island is also famed (and named) for its flowers. And there is one flowering tree whose nuts are attracting growing interest from conservationists and community groups: the candlenut. This large, white nut is famed for its oil, which can be burned for light, but is also common in Southeast Asian cuisine – making it a valuable crop.
Besides conservation, Burung Indonesia also helps communities to explore economic activities that will improve local earnings without damaging natural habitats. In 2010 there were only ten small businesses in the area, but now there are more than a hundred – including livestock and fish husbandry, tree nurseries, coffee processing, a bakery and shops. 22 microfinance units serve the small businesses, giving owners the boost they need to get started. A candlenut cooperative has been set up, supplying the product to national markets.
There are still a number of challenges to be addressed, and that’s where BirdLife’s Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator comes in. Over the years, Burung Indonesia has suffered from a lack of capital to finance business opportunities, and to provide finance-based incentives, including from the government, for communities to preserve habitats. Conservation groups are also in need of funding for staff, training and equipment, which will enable them to achieve even more.
Through the Accelerator programme, Burung Indonesia is exploring opportunities that have not been tried before. We are already getting VRMAs integrated into the policies of local planning offices, and they also seek to expand the scale of the candlenut cooperative, allowing even more farmers to get involved. Excitingly, we will be exploring some completely new avenues, including ecotourism and ‘payment for ecosystem services’: incentives offered to farmers or landowners in exchange for preserving the vital, life-giving services that nature provides.
BirdLife’s Forest Landscape Sustainability Accelerator helps local Partners to attract long-lasting investments and explore forest-friendly business opportunities that will safeguard the whole landscape for decades to come.