World Resources Institute is a global research organization that works in more than fifty countries to create a world where the actions of government, business, and communities combine to eliminate poverty and sustain the natural environment for all people. They used their grant from BACP to aid efforts to preserve biodiversity in Kalimantan, Indonesia by shifting new oil palm plantation development from high conservation value forests to degraded land.
Project POTICO, a partnership of WRI and NewPage, developed web applications to link sustainable palm oil expansion and sustainable forest management through the utilization of degraded lands rather than the conversion of forests.
The Suitability Mapper allows users to create a custom map that analyzes the suitability of an area of land for palm oil production. Social (livelihood), legal (zoning and rights), economic (crop productivity and financial viability) and environmental (carbon and biodiversity, soil and water protection) factors are taken into account. The tool is designed to help producers identify possible sites for plantations, and to help government officials identify degraded land and engage in land use planning. The mapper is intended to facilitate the first step of a four stage process to officially select a site for a palm oil plantation-desktop analysis, field assessment, initial selection, and due diligence.
The Forest Cover Analyzer is a monitoring system that can be used to assess present forest cover and past cover change year-by-year in a user-defined area in Kalimantan. The tool is especially relevant due to Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) criterion 7.3, which requires that new oil palm plantings since 2005 have not replaced primary forest or any area required to maintain or enhance high conservation values (HCV). The Analyzer can be used by producers to demonstrate maintenance of HCV set-asides, by buyers to check for evidence of compliance, and by RSPO and NGOs for monitoring. RSPO has endorsed the Analyzer, and WRI has been working closely with the RSPO to integrate it into the official certification process.
Training sessions on the web applications were held at relevant RSPO Working Group, Certification Body, and Task Force meetings. WRI also partnered with the Indonesian Ministry for Development Planning to take the webtools to national and province-level carbon and REDD+ policymakers, to aid them in making national-level spatial decisions at the intersection of economic development and environmental commitments. Two workshops were conducted in 2012, with more scheduled for early 2013.
WRI also produced a "how to" guide advising companies on how to implement land swaps following best social and legal practices. The guide provides a technical summary of existing legal methods for changing current land use classifications identified through a desktop legal review, a case study of the application of these methods under Project POTICO, a discussion of challenges to implementing these methods, recommendations for palm oil companies and Indonesian policy-makers, and a detailed legal appendix. WRI also released "How to Identify Degraded Land for Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia," a formal WRI publication documenting its methodologies.
WRI used the tools and guides it created to identify 10,000 hectares of land that could be swapped to preserve biodiversity, and is working to influence Indonesia's 5-year spatial planning revision to prevent the conversion of HCV. Even more important, by developing these resources, they have laid the groundwork for technology that could potentially be used around the world to strengthen incentives for avoiding loss of high conservation value areas, and to allow agricultural production and biodiversity to coexist and thrive.