In 2003-2008, the Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the European Union (EU) collaborated in the implementation of a technical cooperation project, the South Sumatra Forest Fire Management Project (SSFFMP). Towards the end of the SSFFMP project, the possible link between fire management and climate change mitigation was made. Hence the Merang REDD Pilot Project proposal in South Sumatera was prepared, submitted and supported by the donor.
Climate change is an implication of global warming caused by the excessive increase of the green house gases in the atmospheric layer. The green house effect is needed to sustain the average temperature of the earth to support life and the ecosystem. However, the increase of social and economic activities affects the rising of Carbon dioxide gas (CO2) and methane gas (CH4) concentration in the air which surpasses the capacity of adaptation and stabilization of the earth. This at the end will damage the ecosystem.
The major impact of the climate change is the occurrence of disturbances on the hydrologic cycle in the form of changes in the rainfall pattern and intensity, rise in sea level, rising frequency and intensity of disasters which could cause water crises and drought, decrease of the agriculture production and fishery, and the changes of the biological diversity.
The 2007 Bali conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change called for the establishment of a mechanism for compensating the reduction in emissions from avoided deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. It was also decided that, a series of pilot projects should provide the experience necessary to successfully implement such a mechanism.
In South Sumatra, the Merang Peat Swamp Forest area (MPSF) is a promising location for such a pilot project due to the still relatively intact forest cover and the large below ground carbon storage in the peat, as well as the suitable location with connections to the protected areas of Sembilang National Park in South Sumatra and Berbak National Park in Jambi.
Proposal of the Merang REDD Pilot Project (MRPP), inter alia was prepared based on the supporting studies financed by EU-MRPP 2008. These studies are; “Threat Analysis to Forest Coverage in Peat Swamp Forest in South Sumatra” by Gernot Rucker; “Biodiversity Assessment in the Merang Peat Dome area” by Matthias Waltert; “Carbon Stock Estimation in Peat Swamp Forest Area of Merang – Kepayang” by Florian Moder et.al and from other contributing studies.
The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) accepted the proposal and committed to finance the MRPP project as a grant scheme up to 1,433,454.00 Euro, for project period of 2008-2011. The executing agency is the Ministry of Forestry of Indonesia and the assigned implementing agency to conduct the project is the District Forestry Agency of Musi Banyuasin and the Provincial Forestry Agency of South Sumatera in cooperation with the Deutsch Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH Indonesia.
The project area recommended by the Regent of Musi Banyuasin District covers an area of 24,000 Ha. This project area is located at the Peat Swamp Production Forest of Merang-Kepahyang. Administratively, it is located in the Bayung Lencir Sub-District, Musi Banyuasin (MUBA) District.
Head of MUBA District also issued decrees No. 23 and 24 dated September 10, 2009 establishing Lalan Forest Management Unit (FMU) covering an area of 265,953 Ha.