Indonesia: 'Riau One Map' a Platform for Sustainable Forest Management

Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 22 Jul 16;

Jakarta. Following the goals of the government's "one map" policy, World Research Institute Indonesia recently initiated the Riau One Map to encourage sustainable forest and land management in the province.

The campaign will take four years, with members of the research institute facing an uphill battle in collecting, gathering, preparing, consolidating and delivering data, while at the same time keeping negotiations transparent.

Currently, an indicative map of Riau's open land and forests has been compiled by REDD+ — an international effort to reduce carbon emission — but a definitive map still has a long way to go.

Nirarta Samadhi, WRI Indonesia Director, stressed that the end goal is not to create the map, but to create a credible platform allowing relevant stakeholders to talk about the issues faced in land and forest management in the province.

"We must open up a communication platform which promotes transparency. This will help reduce conflict and identify the problems faced by each stakeholder," Nirarta said on Thursday (21/07).

According to the director, a transparent platform will help determine land borders and land redistribution – a common conflict between the private sector and government when fires break out in unregistered lands – which can help increase revenues, he claims.

"We can increase non-tax base revenues considerably, by 60 percent to 300 percent," Nirarta claimed.

The research institute has chosen Riau as the location of this pilot project because of numerous, problematic land-related cases in the province, with deforestation levels and carbon emissions higher than in other provinces in the country.

According to Nararta, government authorities have their own land and forest maps containing different data, which stresses the need for a single map for Riau.

The Riau One Map will be freely available to the public after four years. If all things go well, WRI Indonesia will expand the One Map project to South Sumatra and Papua by 2018.

Many experts believe forest and peat land fires in Indonesia are likely to start up again when the rainy season ends. They say not enough has been done yet to head off the risks.

Slash-and-burn clearance of land — much of it to plant oil palm, and trees to make pulp and paper — is the main culprit fueling the fires that smolder deep underground in peat. They have pushed up pollution levels, disrupting daily life from Indonesia to Singapore and Malaysia.

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