Central Sulawesi’s Lake Poso, the third deepest lake in Indonesia, is surrounded by stunning steep hills. Farming communities inhabit its shores, growing rice, corn, manioc, sweet potato, peanuts, green beans, vanilla and clove. The lake is suffering from high rates of sedimentation and pollution from agriculture and is threatened by plans to build hydroelectric plants on its tributaries.
The organization Perkumpulan Inovasi Komunitas (IMUNITAS) has been working on the western shore in the four villages of Meko, Salukai, Owini and Uranosari, where for three years it has sought to address watershed degradation by promoting co-management of farms and shores. After forming a conservation group of 15 people from each village, IMUNITAS delivered training in participatory conservation planning to a total of 60 people. The villagers learned about their natural resources and were trained in forest and lake health monitoring and land rehabilitation. They also established an agreement on participatory management of living natural resources and ecosystems, which is the foundation for co-management of the land in and around their villages.
IMUNITAS then engaged to coordinate and collaborate with academics, the private sector and local government to conduct research on endemic fish species, land rehabilitation and resource monitoring. IMUNITAS also introduced alternative livelihood activities involving non-timber forest products, such as palm sugar production, orchid cultivation and green-label coffee, and worked to reduce fuel wood use via improved cookstoves.
In total, the project supported the co-management of 66,035 hectares of production landscape. This figure includes the forested water catchments of Meko (46,793 hectares), Salukai (7,108 hectares), Owini (10,285 hectares) and Uranosari (1,849 hectares).