Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) is launching an agroforestry programme to support the economic development of 500 villages surrounding its supply chain in Indonesia.
The work will focus on bringing together agriculture, forestry and vocational skills development to demonstrate that economic development can be pursued in a sustainable way.
The programme will be designed to build upon the local knowledge of communities by bringing in best practice and techniques from across industry and academia.
This could include sharing techniques for rearing livestock and growing sustainable fruit and vegetables. There will also be a focus on forestry and business skills for developing alternative livelihoods that do not require the clearance of natural forest.
APP said that this would help reduce the pressure on Indonesia’s natural forests and improve the livelihoods of local communities. It would also help reduce conflict over land by providing less land-intensive development options, and help reduce land encroachment and slash and burn activities, the group said.
Last year APP pledged to support the protection and restoration of one million hectares of forests in Indonesia, and to coordinate $10 million (£6.7m) a year of in-kind and financial support into forest conservation across Indonesia.
Aida Greenbury, managing director, sustainability at APP, said: “The issues facing Indonesia’s forests need to be managed at the landscape level, and local communities have a very important stake in the forest. While these programmes are at an early pilot stage, we will be working to help introduce and spread sustainable farming techniques that are compatible with forest protection.”