A man  is collecting rubber sap in Hutan Harapan area. Doc. Hutan Harapan|Aulia Erlangga

Hutan Harapan- Jambi-Palembang, Bogor, 31 October 2021.

Hutan Harapan is an Ecosystem Restoration concession managed by PT Restorasi Ekosistem (REKI) covering an area of ​​98,555 ha located in the provinces of South Sumatra and Jambi. PT REKI is developing sustainable business efforts to improve community welfare in addition to forest restoration and biodiversity protection.

With the issuance of the Job Creation Law 11/2020 and its derivative policies such as Government Regulation 23/ 2021 and Ministry  of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) Regulation 8/2021, the Ecosystem Restoration permit has been changed to a “Forest Utilization Permit/PBPH” that allows the company to develop multiple forestry businesses. As an Ecosystem Restoration company, since the beginning PT REKI, has taken this approach in the form of forest area utilization, cultivation of non-timber forest products and provision of environmental services, including forest restoration. One of the area utilization activities is the development of an agroforestry-based rubber partnership business with the Batin Sembilan Indigenous People and other local communities who have signed a ‘Forest Partnership Agreement’ within the framework of the government’s Social Forestry program.

In mid-October 2021, Hutan Harapan and rubber farmers received support from Pirelli and the BMW Group with the goal of improving rubber farmer’s livelihoods in Hutan Harapan as part of efforts to develop a sustainable supply chain to ensure the long-term production of deforestation-free natural rubber.

This partnership program will contribute to improve community livelihood and environment and also is in line with the goals of the Global Platform of Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) of which Pirelli, BMW Group and Birdlife International are founding members.

“We welcome the support from Pirelli and the BMW Group because the program can help improve community livelihoods, especially those who have partnered with us. In addition, the rubber agroforestry business partnership is part of PT REKI’s “multi-business forestry” development as mandated by Government Regulation 23/ 2021 and Ministry of Environment and Forestry Regulation 8/2021. The new regulations strengthen efforts to ensure the economic welfare of communities in Hutan Harapan. We expect this program will support a sustainable and deforestation-free natural rubber supply chain while improving people’s welfare,” said Mangarah Silalahi- President Director of PT REKI.

A part from supporting GPSNR, the activities are also in line with the Indonesian government’s programs to alleviate poverty and improve community livelihoods as well as sustainable forest management. This includes:

1. A natural rubber-based agroforestry approach is employed to optimize the quality and quantity of rubber, diversify community income, restore forests with communities, increase soil fertility and conserve biodiversity.

2. Involvement of indigenous and local communities including women and vulnerable people: involving farming families to identify, ensure respect for and protection of their customary rights and the rights of women and the vulnerable.

3. Empowerment of women and vulnerable people: education and training for women and vulnerable people to be actively involved and support activities related to rubber cultivation and sustainable natural rubber management, forest protection and biodiversity.

4. Management and control of forest and land fires through community based fire prevention in the Forest Partnership areas and in surrounding areas.

5. Protection and security of forest areas and the biodiversity, carried out together with government agencies, communities, and other stakeholders. The location of rubber agroforestry and its surroundings is a habitat for several species of animals that are protected by Indonesian law, including the ivory hornbill, Sumatran tigers and elephants.

PT REKI is the holder of the first Ecosystem Restoration business license in Indonesia. Known as “Hutan Harapan”, it covers an area of ​​98,555 ha in South Sumatra and Jambi.  The company aims to restore forest productivity, develop multiple forestry businesses, improve community livelihoods and protect the biodiversity which will contribute to sustainably managing Sumatra’s remaining lowland forests.