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Response from Iman Sapari, Yayorin, to “Slippery violence” paper about Sungai Lamandau REDD+ Project, Indonesia

On 30 May 2018, REDD-Monitor wrote a post based on a paper in the current issue of the journal Conservation and Society. The paper is titled, “Slippery Violence in the REDD+ Forests of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia”, and is written by Peter Howson.

Earlier today, REDD-Monitor received a response from Iman Sapari, director of Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia), a local Indonesian NGO works in the area of the Sungai Lamandau wildlife reserve. Yayorin carried out the community development work during the REDD+ feasibility study.

Yayorin’s response is posted here in full and unedited.

Response from Yayorin to Peter Howson’s article:

There are several issues in this article which we think are not appropriate. First, the REDD+ feasibility project in the buffer zone of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve was designed and implemented with great care and precisely to provide access to local/marginalised communities such as ex illegal loggers, hunters and communities that were economically dependent on the forest area around the Lamandau WR.

The first step was to conduct a feasibility study to answer the question whether a REDD+ project was feasible? And if feasible, what interventions should be done; who should be project’s targets and by what mechanism?

Based on the results of this study, if a carbon project were to be implemented in the buffer zone of the Lamandau WR, it should involve the community around the reserve through the Community Forest (Hutan Kemasyarakatan/HKm) model, where people are granted a legal management right for 35 years and can harvest non-timber forest products (HHBK), limited potential for planted timber and other activities in accordance with the permit given.

The project implementation consortium (Yayorin, ICRAF, Clinton Foundation, Rare and Orangutan Foundation), also realizes that a REDD Program is only an additional bonus or incentive from the project and is not the main objective, therefore the project implemented in the Lamandau buffer zone area prioritized the strengthening of local/marginal people, both ex illegal loggers, hunters and communities economically dependent on forest areas around the reserve, through a series of incentives for local economic development including fish-pond cultivation, floating cages as well as fish/shrimp processing, red palm sugar and broomsticks from nipah palms.

Currently, activities undertaken by the pilot project have already provided economic benefits to local and marginalized communities even though the anticipated REDD project has not materialised, therefore we think that Howson has not gathered sufficient information, so that his conclusions regarding the REDD programme in the Lamandau buffer area are not appropriate.

Related to the restriction on communities carrying out economic activities in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, it must be realized that through granting limited permits, this has allowed access to surrounding communities. Since Indonesian regulations normally prohibit economic activities in wildlife reserves, this demonstrates that the management authority has been very accommodating to the needs of marginal communities around the Lamandau Reserve.

Iman Sapari


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  1. Appreciate the response. The ‘slippery violence’ I refer to is of a structural nature. The paper attempts to show how the logic of REDD+, as a global market mechanism, constructs community groups as violent and destructive and therefore in need of incentivising to do otherwise. The broad idea is that local people are compensated for the ‘opportunity costs’ of not degrading forests. In doing so the REDD+ mechanism wrongly points the blame at small-holders, rather than large international corporations, as the cause of forest degradation in Indonesia.

    The conceptualisation of exclusion I use, does not take exclusion as something simply negative, counter posed with the positive idea of ‘inclusion’, but rather as something inevitable within community-based constructions of REDD+. I’m aware that there were multiple economic and other benefits being enjoyed by the community groups. I have written another paper about those (

    Linking community-based conservation with international markets for carbon I think comes with many pitfalls. HKm and other options might prove more worthwhile, as I have said elsewhere (

  2. It is known that these efforts have become part of the Ministry of National Development Planning / Bappenas program with other ministries such as the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Marine Affairs of Fisheries, the Ministry of Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Energy and Mining through the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF). Yayorin packed it into an act of sustainability over the previous project as our commitment.
    Eddy-Director Yayorin