Community-led forest landscape restoration with fast-growing trees in Borneo, Indonesia

Revitalize deforested areas. Create income for local communities from timber and cash crops. Mitigate climate change. Secure ecosystems.

Photo of Wolfgang
3 4

Written by

I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Fairventures Worldwide FVW gGmbH

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $250k - $500k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 500 - 1,000

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Germany

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Indonesia: Central Kalimantan


Facebook URL

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

The Indonesian island of Borneo, is one of the world`s deforestation hotspots. The island has lost more than 50% of its forest cover since 1970. The deforested areas are severely degraded and can only be farmed with heavy fertilizer use, preventing smallholders from participation. Without providing a possible source of income for small farmers, these areas will all eventually be converted to plantations, further damaging the environment and excluding local communities from the land they need to earn an income.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

The solution to the problems described above had to be a land use system, that a) functions sustainably in degraded areas with poor soil, b) generates enough income to make further mining, illegal logging or conversion to palm oil plantations unnecessary, c) can be implemented by small holders with little disposable income and d) is in line with government regulations. A model of multi-species agroforestry systems, with fast-growing timber as an income source and fruits and vegetables as sources of nutrition is the solution. The approach has a heavy focus on the improvement of soil quality. Since Kalimantan has little agricultural infrastructure, local nurseries had to be established, as well as an intensive course program covering planting, maintenance, and harvesting of the main species as well as financial aspects. In addition, the program simulates the market for timber from these fast-growing trees through the cooperation with processing companies and product innovation.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

The target area is characterized by a mosaic of deforested and degraded land, biodiversity-rich secondary forest and smallholder fields. The main challenge was to identify an economic solution, that utilizes the deforested parts for income generation. The income thus generated would have to suffice for the farmers, so they would not extend their cultivation area, on one hand, and disincentivize large-scale land use chance by external actors (palm oil etc.) by keeping the fractured nature of land use intact. This was accomplished. 700 farmers already particpate and their number is increasing each year. The model increases biodiversity in the area, strengthens resilience against climate change on a landscape scale and prevents erosion and further degradation on individual plots. The rehabilitated areas are suitable habitats for many different animal species and serve as corridors between areas with intact forest.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

The project is now in its 4th year. So far, funding has come from donations (15%), international grants (80%) and corporate contributions (5%), but this will change over time. The key moment will be the first harvest of timber, which will provide the communities with an income that outweighs the investment needs for replanting by far. In addition, the data and mapping generated by the project so far is an excellent basis for investment-driven expansion. Potential investors could be green investment fonds, individuals or the very timber companies that are interested in a continuous supply. Once a well-running system for investment is in place, the extension and/or renewal of planting areas is relatively easy, as farmers only need external support for their first planting cycle.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

The program differs in a number of ways from other reforestation programs: a) it works along the whole value chain of timber, adressing processing aand product innovation in timber comapnies as well , b) is rooted in and codesigned by the local communities of Borneo; c) it focuses heavily on data collection and scalability and d) it was conceived as a potential business model from the very beginning.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Our local partners in Borneo have been thinking about reforestation of degraded areas since the mid 1990s. However, the prevalent wood species sought by the market at the time where slow-growing hardwoods with rotations between 50 and 100 years. So one generation would have to plant them (quite alot of work), so their great-grandchildren could one day have an income. In 2013, at a trade fair, the team first saw panels made from local fast-growing species with rotations of 5-7 years and suddenly all the pieces fell into place: convince farmers, reforest with these trees as a lead species, add additional plants and work up to the hardwoods with long rotations once the farmers have already secured an income. Work with the processing comapnies from the beginning, to secure sales and develop new products, so a trend develops into a movement. Four years later, these ideas are taking shape...

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mouhamadou Moustapha Seck

Really interesting.

View all comments