Conservation News: Australia Terminates Landmark REDD+ Project in Borneo

New drainage canal in Indonesia's Central Kalimantan Province in March 2013. Photo by Rhett A. Butler. Read more at
New drainage canal in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan Province in March 2013. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

by Rhett Butler for

Australia is ending its major forest restoration project in Indonesian Borneo,  reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Launched during the peak of  excitement about the potential of forest conservation to help mitigate  greenhouse gas emissions in 2007, the $47 million initiative aimed to restore  200,000 hectares of peatland that had been drained for the ill-conceived  mega-rice project in the mid-1990s. The project, known as the Kalimantan Forests  and Climate Partnership (KFCP), would have re-flooded that area by blocking off  drainage canals, planted some 100 million trees, and protected 70,000 hectares  of carbon-dense peat forest. It expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by  700 million metric tons over 30 years.

But the project faced challenges  from the start due to approval delays and objections from local communities and  officials. KFCP was eventually scaled back to just 10 percent of its original  target in terms of the area to be reflooded. Meanwhile a sister $30 million  project in Sumatra was canceled completely.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of and can be read in its entirety at

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