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In terms of natural assets, Indonesia has it all in abundance – the world’s largest tropical peatland areas, the largest and most diverse mangroves and coral reef areas, and the third largest tropical rainforest.

Indonesia’s ecosystems have the potential to support the country’s economic growth, sustain livelihoods for millions of people and mitigate climate change. This huge potential sometimes also presents a trade-off between natural assets’ conservation and economic growth.

A country is often faced with choices when managing their natural resource assets. For example, do they expand agriculture into available uncultivated lands to support livelihoods and to raise export revenues, or do they conserve these areas to mitigate climate change, protect biodiversity and potentially gain payments for ecosystem services, such as payments for emissions reductions?

These trade-offs are not just about valuing and pricing the services these ecosystems provide appropriately. They reflect the different uses that people living in and around these ecosystems prescribe to them, and how the land boundaries and ownership are defined. The term ‘landscape’ is therefore used to define a multifunctional geographical area, where environmental, social and economic objectives compete and are valued differently by different stakeholders.

By extension, ‘integrated landscape management’ explicitly includes the different perspectives of different stakeholders – the government, private sector, communities – and aims to balance these and broader environmental, social and economic objectives in one geography.

Panengahan Village, Pesisir Barat regency, Lampung Province. Photo by Nanang Sujana/CIFOR.

Entry points to implementing integrated landscape management in Indonesia

The President Joko Widodo’s second administrative term agenda (Nawa Cita) vision recognizes that reducing extreme poverty requires sustainable management of natural resources and broadly improving the rural economy. The vision places agrarian reform as a foundation for national economic policy to reduce poverty and income gaps, and create rural jobs. Clarity on land-use, access rights and licenses are seen as a key to improving the management and protection of natural resources, and reducing poverty.

Indonesia’s current Medium-Term Development Plan for the year 2020-2024 calls for innovative development approaches at the sub-national level and supports an integrated approach to landscape management. Low carbon development initiatives and green growth planning initiatives are being developed by several sub-national governments.

Although not labelled as integrated landscape approaches, these ongoing reforms and plans at national and subnational levels fundamentally have the idea of integrated landscape management at their core, and provide an entry point for engagement on cross-cutting landscape issues such as agricultural livelihoods development, fire management, and conservation.

Integrated landscape management in practice

In practice, a landscape management can be broken down to actions that address the primary drivers of unsustainable landscape management in a specific geography.

These actions include stakeholder coordination at the national level to ensure that different line ministries can take an integrated approach to competing demands, for example in the form of developing a unified vision (such as through a National Landscape Management Strategy). Stakeholder coordination at the subnational level can be supported through multi-stakeholder platforms that bring together the private sector, CSOs and provincial governments to work together on joint solutions and to implement provincial level green growth plans. Improving maps and spatial planning, and sharing data can ensure there is clarity on boundaries and commonly accepted definitions.

In Indonesia, the World Bank’s Sustainable Landscape Management Program (SLMP) has been working with the province of Jambi as a pilot province to support an integrated landscape management approach. Jambi has it all in terms of critical ecosystems (primary rainforest, mangroves and peatlands), a jurisdictional results-based emissions reduction program and a provincial government’s commitment on putting in place a comprehensive framework to support integrated landscape management. Through engaging with key stakeholders, Jambi can ensure it becomes a demonstration province.

What does success look like?

Although integrated landscape management does not exactly trip off the tongue, its ultimate objective and outcomes are easy to visualize: competing land-use demands are balanced so that agriculture takes place on land suitable for farming using agricultural practices that do not destroy the environment, critical ecosystems are protected as people are able to make a living without destroying forests and are incentivized and compensated for protecting them, and land boundaries are confirmed and recognized thereby securing an asset that livelihoods can be built on.

International experience suggests that integrated landscape management can be implemented successfully. Working closely with communities, government, private sector and civil society partners, the World Bank in Mozambique has been working on a jurisdictional program in the Zambezia province, focused on reducing environmental threats and promoting sustainable rural development. For instance, the program supports agroforestry and forest plantation schemes, strengthens national parks and reserves management, while enhancing livelihoods in and around these areas through strengthening management capacity and promoting nature-based tourism to create business opportunities and livelihood activities that focus on conservation and biodiversity.

Indonesia is already on track in its vision to conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving livelihoods. Combining analytical work, technical assistance, and on-ground investments, the World Bank’s SLMP supports the government of Indonesia’s efforts at national and subnational levels to sustainably manage its landscapes.

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