Sustaining Local Livelihoods through Carbon Sequestration Activities:
A search for practical and strategic approach
Daniel Murdiyarso

Practical livelihood options
Climate related disasters such as flooding, drought, and fire combined with poverty are real challenge to climate change projects implemented without strong commitment to livelihood issues. In many cases, climate change projects with a single objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sources and sequestration by sinks are not an urgent development agenda for developing countries. Therefore, climate-related projects should one way or another be developed to have practical relevance for livelihoods with a broad range of options depending on the local needs. Rehabilitation and conservation in the Philippines’ Laguna Lake watershed is an example of how watershed protection (involving riverbank stabilization, upland rehabilitation and river clogging avoidance to control fl ooding) has been designed in the framework of carbon sequestration and payments through market-based mechanisms. A combination of loan, grant and unilaterally arranged local funding has been explored with the community while strengthening their institutional arrangement.

Carbon Sequestration Activities

The expected total net carbon benefit during 2004-2014 would be 3,204 tC (11,759 tCO2-e) and 1,424 (5,230 tCO2-e) under the high and low scenarios respectively. This implies a total Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) value of US$ 31,380 (low scenario) to US$ 70,554 (high scenario) at a market price of US $6/ton CO2. Collaboration with local agencies on integrated spatial planning has shown promising results to enhance networking and stakeholders’ participation in peatland areas in Indonesia. Nothing like this was observed when the multi-billion dollar Mega Rice Project (later recognized as a disaster) was introduced in Central Kalimantan. Well-designed rehabilitation of degraded natural resources is an opportunity to enhance social capital. The restoration of hydrological regimes is one option to restore the ecosystem function. Canal blocking combined with fire breaks and the introduction of aquaculture are some practical solutions that enhance livelihoods while maintaining peatland carbon storage. Practical solutions related to micro-fi nancing are needed to support ongoing economic activity until the ecosystem function is back to normal.
The links with climate change objectives are immediately apparent: the total annual loss of carbon in around 500,000 ha of peatlands in Jambi, South Sumatra, and Central Kalimantan, Indonesia in the past 10 years is estimated as much as 40 million tons of CO2. This does not include emissions by fi res in El-Nino years of 1983 and 1997. Further compilation of materials and experiences on peatland best management practices in Indonesia and elsewhere are needed. These could generate knowledge to produce manuals for the establishment of agriculture, silviculture, and aquaculture, in addition to water management, fire control manuals, which can be implemented in pilot sites. Simple methods to estimate carbon assets have been developed and tested in tropical peatland ecosystems while empowering local communities. Another practical approach to secure carbon stocks and livelihoods is by reviving traditional law as demonstrated in Timor-Leste. Tara bandu is a form of traditional law that was originated during the pre-Portuguese colonial period.

Carbon Sequestration Activities

It has been proven to be an effective institutional tool in the protection of the forest, wild animals, water sources, sacred places and property rights of the people. An annual carbon loss due to deforestation of 400,000 t C in the past 30 years may be reduced if forest management practices could be put in place.
Only a small portion of the biomass loss is in the form of harvested timber or wood. The majority is being decayed or burned on site. Reviving Tara bandu, which has to go through local institutional processes, could effectively control almost any project involving local leaders and communities. There is also potential to obtain benefi ts from other ecosystem services, such as improved water supply, improved fuelwood supply, grazing for domestic animals, and wildlife protection.

Carbon Sequestration Activities Carbon Sequestration Activities

Source: Proceedings of Workshop on Carbon Sequestration and Sustainable Livelihoods
Editors : Daniel Murdiyarso & Hety Herawati

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