Programa de Paisaje Sostenible en Indonesia (ingl.)

The purpose of the LASR Project is to foster climate-resilient economic development in the largest natural reserve in Northern Sumatra Island, the Leuser Ecosystem, through a jurisdictional landscape approach. 
Duración del proyecto
2023 - 2025
Financiado por
  • State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

Earthworm Foundation
Koltiva AG

What is a Jurisdictional Landscape Approach?

What do you think of as a landscape? Do you envisage a countryside, perhaps including fields, woodlands, and water bodies?  The original concept of a landscape approach comes from nature conservation and is still applied in this context. Multi-stakeholder participation in decision-making is key to the approach. Two other elements include (1) a shared-entry point towards which the stakeholders agree upon a course of action and (2) an agreed means of credible measurement for monitoring the progress and results. The Jurisdictional element of the approach is to put the local government at the center of the process.

Why Leuser?

The Leuser Ecosystem is global leader in terrestrial biodiversity. It provides habitat to 105 different mammal species, or 2% of global mammal species, (including the Sumatran elephant, rhinoceros, and orangutan), 382 bird species, 95 reptile and amphibian species, and 8,500 species of plants, in an area of just 2.6m hectares.  The areas includes lowland, montane rainforests, one national park, nine sizable rivers, three lakes and over 185,000 hectares of carbon-rich peatlands. Preserving the Leuser Ecosystem will be key for Indonesia to meet its commitment of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 29%, or by 41% with international support, by 2040.

As the biggest in-tact forest block in northern Sumatra, the Leuser ecosystem is vulnerable to habitat loss; illegal logging, conversion to palm oil plantations, and encroachments by surrounding settlements all threatens this biodiversity treasure. From 2001-2020, nearly 300,000 hectares, or 10.5%, of forest cover were lost within the Leuser Ecosystem. This equates to nearly 15,000 hectares per year on average.

Despite its protected status, Leuser National Park itself has lost one-fifth of its lowland forests to illegal commercial activities in just the past five years. At that rate, the lowland forest will have disappeared within two decades. The two primary drivers of this forest loss have been expansion of ‘other cropland’ (>50% increase from 2001 levels) and oil palm plantations (24% increase).

Our Plan of Action

To stop further deforestation and turn the tide towards long-term protection of these key ecosystems, Swisscontact is leading the 3-year Leuser Alas Singkil River Basin (LASR) Project, which is funded under the SECO’s Sustainable Landscape Program Indonesia (SLPI).

Local jurisdictions play a key role in protecting local ecology by making and enforcing regulations that foster sustainable development. The LASR Project strengthens the abilities of three local governments in land use planning and stakeholder engagement, especially forest proximate farming communities that are marginalized economically and politically.

The Project integrates thousands of smallholder oil palm farmers into sustainable value chains that improve their income opportunities while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, and eliminating deforestation. The LASR Project’s implementing partner, Koltiva, is linking thousands of smallholder cocoa and oil palm farmers to traceable, sustainable supply chains. This effort is bringing more independent smallholders into sustainable palm oil supply chains than any other in the world and making sustainability more inclusive.

Agricultural commodities are the biggest drivers of deforestation in Leuser. Such commodities move through complex supply chains involving many different actors from smallholder to local traders to regional processors supplying global brand names. LASR Project attempts to with all of them through the Multi-Stakeholder Forums in the landscape and other platforms outside the landscape and around the world.

In the landscape, LASR Project aims to improve the norms of 20 oil palm plantations and crude palm oil mills to be aligned with No-Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation (NDPE) Policies and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)/Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) Standards, thereby upgrading the norms of palm oil production across the landscape. In doing so, LASR Project through Earthworm Foundation assists five of these companies to improve their working conditions of agricultural workers.

Results so far

In the first 18 months of the LASR Project has accomplished the following:

38,286 ha on the boundaries of protected forests have been brought under improved management by local villages. This resulted from 14 Participatory Land Use Planning exercises carried out by Earthworm Foundation.

Five palm oil companies in the landscape committed to preserving and managing 10,151 ha area designated as High Conservation Value and High Carbon Stock (HCV-HCS) within their concessions.

The two jurisdictions with the most substantial oil palm plantings, Subulussalam and Singkil, have committed to fulfilling the Government of Indonesia’s Roadmap for Sustainable Palm Oil Production in their respective areas.

Eleven oil palm plantation companies operating in the Leuser Ecosystem have established 100% traceable supply chains down to the farm; this has included the RSPO certification of 270 independent smallholders, which is the beginning to upgrade far more independent smallholders to production according to RSPO/ISPO standards.

Six palm oil companies improved and, in some cases, established their in-house sustainability management competency. The companies’ newly established sustainability units have adopted NDPE policies and implemented ESG standards in their operations. Three of them obtained ISPO certification in 2023.