The project was conceived in the aftermath of Indonesia’s devastating 2015 wildfires, which in addition to destroying vast tracts of tropical rainforest, is believed to be the cause of 100,000 premature deaths. Having drawn up action arenas – each about three to four-square hectares in size – the community restores the landscapes to produce a variety of crops, liberica coffee, rubber, coconuts, fish, as well as pineapple.
Although growing crops and livelihoods is important, at the core of the entire project is raising awareness of the value – for the communities and the global environment – of fire-free peatlands restoration work.
Key activities in these action arenas include training local farmers to prepare the land for planting without fire, constructing fencing, applying fertilizers and learning how to monitor moisture and water levels in peatland and trees to better understand agroforest conditions to avoid accidental fires. The training will ensure that these activities can continue long after the experts have gone, says project leader and CIFOR scientist Herry Purnomo.