The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Project (Rimba Raya), located in Borneo, Indonesia, is one of the world’s largest REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) projects. Rimba Raya protects and preserves tropical lowland peat swamp forests, an endangered ecosystem, and is the native home to the Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), a beloved and critically endangered species, as well as other endangered and threaten species. The project, encompassing ~64,000 hectares, prevents this valuable ecosystem from being converted into palm oil plantations, and also protects the adjacent world-renowned Tanjung Puting National Park by creating a physical buffer zone on its eastern border. This conservation of Rimba Raya is expected to reduce and avoid emissions of 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) during the 30-year life of the carbon offset project.
Rimba Raya was developed by Infinite-EARTH Limited and started producing carbon credits in 2009, and since then has made a name for itself as one of the world’s premier carbon credit projects. It was the first validated REDD+ project under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the first project to receive the “triple-gold” validation under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB). In addition, Rimba Raya is the world’s first REDD+ project to be validated and verified under the Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard for its contributions to all 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These SDG contributions solidify the fact that Rimba Raya not only reduces and avoids GHG emissions but also provides direct and quantifiable benefits to its local communities and environment.
Conservation of Forests
Rimba Raya helps to limit the deforestation of approximately 65,000 hectares of tropical lowland peat swamp forest by preventing it from being converted into palm oil plantations. The project also actively plants mangrove and tree saplings to help with reforestation efforts. The saplings are purchased from local suppliers, help replenish the ecosystem and reduce emissions, and even produce fruit for local communities. Additional conservation projects at Rimba Raya include building towers to monitor fire and deforestation activity and promoting river cleaning programs. These activities not only help to conserve this unique ecosystem but also have the potential to increase the GHG emissions reduction attributed to the project. A total of 130 million tCO2e GHG emissions are projected by Infinite-EARTH to be reduced and avoided at Rimba Raya over the 30 years of the project. After assessing a 20% risk buffer, the total estimated reduced emissions under VCS are approximately 105 million tCO2e or 3,527,171 tCO2e per year.
Protection of Biodiversity
The Rimba Raya project area is endowed with a biodiversity richness that is home to over 600 species of flora and fauna and 100 local animal species currently listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Through conversation and other project activities that help sustain the area’s unique ecosystem (e.g. wildfire mitigation, reduction of hunting, cleaning of rivers, etc.), Rimba Raya is preserving and improving the habitat of this diverse makeup of wildlife.
Rimba Raya works in a close conservation partnership with the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), a non-profit organization dedicated to saving orangutan populations from extinction in the wild, to protect orangutan habitat, tropical rainforest, and to rehabilitate and release wild-born ex-captive orangutans back to the wild through Camp Rimba – a dedicated release camp built and monitored within the Rimba Raya project area. Highlighted to the right are a few of the endangered species that call Rimba Raya home. For additional information on Rimba Raya’s protection of wildlife please visit the project’s website at rimba-raya.com.
Among many reasons that Rimba Raya is considered a leading offset program is its direct positive impact on local communities. A portion of revenue generated from the sale of Rimba Raya credits go directly to help support local community development and provincial government infrastructure. This involvement in the local community has the goal of enhancing the quality of life of the local population and is achieved by various programs, some of which are shown below:
Floating clinics provide local communities access to medical services. For some of the locals, this is their only opportunity to receive much needed medical help.
Educational opportunities are provided in the form of scholarships as well as the creation of libraries and community centers.
Solar lanterns are provided and larger solar installations are set up to provide clean and affordable energy.
Water filters are provided and larger water filtration systems installed to ensure supply of clean water to the local community.
Rimba Raya Carbon Credit Stream
Carbon Streaming has entered a stream agreement for the right to receive 100% of the carbon credits generated by Rimba Raya (approximately 3.5 million credits per annum) less up to 635,000 carbon credits per annum that are already committed to previous buyers. Rimba Raya is expected to generate 70 million credits over the next 20 years.