Safeguarding Endangered Wildlife on Simeulue Island in Indonesia by Revitalizing Degraded Coconut Plantations

A farmer replants the first trial coconuts under aluan’s regenerative coconut replanting and rehabilitation program.

Safeguarding Endangered Wildlife on Simeulue Island in Indonesia by Revitalizing Degraded Coconut Plantations

Organization
Category Regenerative Agriculture

Our project categories represent one of three core solutions pathways to solving climate change. Energy Transition focuses on renewable energy access and energy efficiency. Nature Conservation includes wildlife habitat protection and ecosystem restoration, as well as Indigenous land rights. Regenerative Agriculture supports farmers, ranchers, and community agriculture.

Realm Indomalaya

The Project Marketplace is organized by the major terrestrial realms divided into 14 biogeographical regions – N. America, Subarctic America, C. America, S. America, Afrotropics, Indomalaya, Australasia, Oceania, Antarctica, and the Palearctic realm, which coincides with Eurasia and is divided into Subarctic, Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern regions.

Status active

Seed indicates an early stage project that needs some level of support to develop into a larger funding proposal. Active indicates any project that needs core programmatic funding. Urgent indicates a short-term project initiated in response to a natural disaster or other impending risk.

Funding Level $$$$

$$$$ indicates a project between $250,000-$1 million.

Timeframe 2 years
Partner EcosystemImpact

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Simeulue Island in Indonesia is one of the world’s last islands still covered by primary rainforest. It is home to critically endangered and endemic biodiversity and has mostly avoided the environmental and cultural destruction that has taken place in other parts of Indonesia.

Yet, conservation efforts must act now as palm oil plantations have a small presence and can be abated for the time being. It is a rare opportunity to maintain and enhance the natural beauty and resilience of the island and expand the model elsewhere.

Organic Certified coconuts on the shoreline of Simeulue Island. Āluān has supported 500 farming families to aggregate and achieve organic certification. Coconuts grow well on coastal sandy loam soil and require little water inputs. They are well suited to a regenerative, organic, intercropping system. Image credit: Courtesy of Ecosystemimpact

EcosystemImpact and its sister organization, Āluān, a full supply coconut oil business, were established in tandem with a mission to achieve this vision in partnership with the people of Simeulue. This project will revitalize smallholder agriculture through coconut replanting and intercropping alongside forest and wildlife conservation.

There are up to 3,000 hectares of unproductive and degraded smallholder-owned coconut plantations in Simeulue. These can all be replanted and intercropped with faster-growing turmeric, ginger, and vegetables, which will increase sustainable livelihoods for participants

Āluān employs 50 women at their processing facility in Simeulue Island Sumatra, Indonesia. None of the 50 women employed have had employment or a bank account before working with āluān. Employment offers them more autonomy in the household and funds for their children to attend university. Image credit: Courtesy of Ecosystemimpact

In its proof-of-concept phase, the project will work with at least 50 smallholders to revitalize 100 hectares of plantations, building community support for sustainable resource and conservation management plans across two villages. By doing so, deforestation and wildlife poaching will be reduced due to a viable economic alternative.

Project goals include:

  1. Verifying appropriate land areas.
  2. Ensuring the model benefits forest, climate, wildlife, and people via the design and piloting of village-level resource use and conservation planning.
  3. Optimizing the replanting plan through expert agricultural assistance.
  4. Refining legal structures and contracting arrangements between project vehicles and smallholders.
  5. Establishing regenerative plantations in partnership with smallholders under a revenue-sharing model.
  6.  Networking with potential supporters and partners to enable the model to be scaled and replicated.

Coconut seedlings ready to replant via āluān’s pilot replanting program. These seedlings came to life on the wild island of Selaut and were relocated to a community nursery before being planted in 2019. Coconuts across Simeulue and the region are nearing the end of their productive lifespans. Replanting coconuts for small independent farmers forms a critical part of      protecting neighbouring forest ecosystems and their critically endangered species. Conservation must be carried out in an integrated manner where community rights and livelihoods are as important as protecting nature. Without replanting programs for independent farmers we are also likely to see a competing industrial land use – palm oil – enter the landscape at scale. The program thus addresses macro industrial threats by aggregating small independent farmers into a larger initiative. Image credit: Courtesy of Ecosystemimpact

As part of the proof-of-concept phase, the project will work with agricultural experts to determine the more specific details of the replanting program, such as optimal varieties for intercropping, the role of livestock, and what exact organic fertilizers and extension services are required. Successful completion of this phase will allow the model to be scaled and replicated in other sectors.

Green sea turtle hatchling. Prior to the ranger program being consistently funded five years ago, turtle eggs were constantly being poached. This hatchling is a symbol of what is possible if we work together to heal and protect our planet. Image credit: Paul Hilton @paulhiltonphoto

In addition, EcosystemImpact and Āluān will implement a regenerative replanting program to address the problem of senile trees and consequent palm oil pressure. This will include participatory community-based conservation.

The community-based conservation model will involve data collection and monitoring of resource use plans, buffer zones, key species, and habitats. It will enforce interventions where required and include conservation-themed education.

Āluān is key to success and provides greater confidence in project sustainability. It is a well-run, professional entity with direct, long-term commitments in the supply chain and existing market access. This is essential for securing investor confidence in that they have a reliable, professional counterpart.

BKSDA Ecosystem Impact Community Rangers on a morning patrol. The rangers collect important scientific data on Bangkaru’s endangered turtle and bird species, which is used to guide regional and international conservation. Image credit: Courtesy of Ecosystemimpact

A further innovation of the proposed project structure is that EcosystemImpact receives a stake in the commercial entity. This addresses a limitation of other replanting initiatives that fail to prioritize and adequately finance core conservation needs across the project's lifetime.

Beneficiaries of the project include farming households who, through replanting, intercropping, organic certification, and agroeconomic assistance, will increase their productivity. This will result in increased and diversified incomes and create jobs for women in the region who often face career opportunity challenges.

Positive environmental impacts include avoiding the use of chemicals from insecticides and pesticides, ecosystem regeneration from the enhancement of agricultural areas, and reducing ecosystem depletion through active conservation efforts and participatory resource use and conservation management planning.

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