top of page

The Katingan Mentaya Project: Creating a New Generation of Sustainability in Indonesia

Sponsored By KMP | Empowering Borneo: Sustainable Development and Peat Swamp Conservation with the Katingan Mentaya Project

Permian Global, Central Kalimantan, Borneo, Orangutan, Indonesia, Biodiversity, Peat Swamp Forest, Forest, KMP, Katingan Mentaya Project, PT Rimba Makmur Utama, Sustainability, Environment, Economy, Decarbonization, Global Warming, Climate Change, Sustainable Business, Resilience, Climate Adaptation, Climate Resilience, Beauty, Industry, Wellness, Lifestyle, Sustainable Living, Conscious Living, Capitalism, Policy, The SustainabilityX® Magazine


Listen to this and other articles from The SustainabilityX® Magazine on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.



The Katingan Mentaya Project (KMP), one of the largest remaining peat swamp forests in Indonesia, led by PT Rimba Makmur Utama in collaboration with organizations like Permian Global, is making significant strides in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. This ambitious initiative focuses on preserving the tropical peat swamp forests, crucial for combating climate change, and fostering sustainable livelihoods for local communities. By addressing deforestation and illegal logging, and promoting biodiversity, KMP protects endangered species, such as the Bornean orangutan. The project aligns with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 7.5 million tonnes annually over 60 years. Engaging 35 villages and 45,000 people, KMP is a beacon of hope for sustainable development and environmental conservation.


Working with local communities in the Central Kalimantan region of Borneo towards a better future, the Katingan Mentaya Project (KMP) is creating sustainable livelihoods and protecting crucial intact peat swamp forest across the project zone.

Katingan Mentaya Project works with local communities work to save tropical peat swamp forest

Founded and managed by PR Rimba Makmur Utama, the Katingan Mentaya Project is a collaboration between a number of organizations.

Working together to protect the vital habitat in and around the Central Kalimantan project zone, the Katingan Mentaya Project includes:

Permian Global

Permian Global is a mission-led business that channels private sector carbon finance into the design and implementation of projects that protect and regenerate threatened tropical forests. Forests, especially dense fast-growing tropical forests, are a stabilizing force for the climate and a hotbed of biodiversity. They regulate ecosystems, form habitats for animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms, play an integral part in the carbon cycle, support livelihoods, and supply goods and services that can drive sustainable growth. 

Lowering emissions and fighting climate change

In the case of the Katingan Mentaya Project, PT Rimba Makmur Utama and the associated organizations work together to create a robust cycle of sustainable development across the project area.

According to the KMP itself, its project goals are clear - to reduce deforestation and support sustainable livelihoods and sustainable development in Borneo.

These are broken down as follows:

Goal 1: Climate

The tropical peat swamp forest in the Central Kalimantan province provides a home to endangered species, including the remaining global population of Bornean orangutan. The peatland ecosystems within the forest area around the Katingan river and across the project development area are absolutely vital to the fight against climate change in Ind onesia.

To protect the future development of this ecosystem, the KMP works to reduce carbon emissions through the restoration of the forest area. The kind of agricultural conversion of the area for farming, burning, peat drainage and illegal logging that would occur without the KMP is avoided by working in partnership with communities who need the land for their future.

Goal 2: Community

Permian Global, Central Kalimantan, Borneo, Orangutan, Indonesia, Biodiversity, Peat Swamp Forest, Forest, KMP, Katingan Mentaya Project, PT Rimba Makmur Utama, Sustainability, Environment, Economy, Decarbonization, Global Warming, Climate Change, Sustainable Business, Resilience, Climate Adaptation, Climate Resilience, Beauty, Industry, Wellness, Lifestyle, Sustainable Living, Conscious Living, Capitalism, Policy, The SustainabilityX® Magazine

The KMP is effective thanks to its holistic approach to its goal of preventing deforestation and saving the biodiversity of the land.

By fostering inclusive partnerships with local communities and promoting a general culture of sustainability, the KMP acts to reduce poverty at all levels.

Getting directly involved with the impacted communities in the project zone leads improved maintenance and enhancement of the kinds of ecosystem benefits that are vital for the overall wellbeing of the local people in and around the project area.

Goal 3: Biodiversity

By eliminating the drivers of deforestation, the KMP reduces the threat to biodiversity. It means an ability to maintain the ecological integrity of the natural habitat and biological diversity.

Within this is the intent to actively work to protect endangered species and species with High Conservation Value. Among the species under protection in Indonesia are the Bornean orangutan and proboscis monkey. There are, of course, many more at risk.

Drilling down into the detail of the KMP

The PT Rimba Makmur Utama led project is strongly committed to the 17 UN SDGs - the Sustainable Development Goals.

KMP covers 149,800 hectares (concession area) of peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan. Indonesia. It's the biggest nature-derived project based on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

Data shows that the KMP is estimated to reduce carbon emissions of 7.5 tonnes each year over a period of 60 years. Partnership with local communities is a founding driver of the project.

Which communities are involved with the project?

Combating forest degradation in any meaningful way can only be achieved through working with local farmers, the surrounding communities and by respecting the natural resources throughout the region.

Communities within the concession area who work directly with the KMP team are from 35 villages in two districts - Kotawaringin Timur and Katingan. The project delivers development and economic support for 45,000 people living in these villages. Through capacity building and restorative economy programs, the project provides realistic sustainable alternative livelihoods for local people.

Avoided deforestation requires patience and communication

An example of the work that the KMP is doing can be seen with its long running intent to work with illegal loggers to change their minds and actions to value the standing forest and provide them with sustainable opportunities and alternative incomes.

Illegal logging by locals and other farmers is one of the biggest challenges facing the Katingan Mentaya team and to be successful, the project workers must exercise patience and take their time to build up trust with the community.

A recent success story resulted in three chainsaws being voluntarily handed over to the Katingan Mentaya team by villagers in the sub-district of Pulau Hanaut.

While three chainsaws may not seem much, it represents a significant shift in the working relationship between the project and the local community. By handing over their equipment, both parties are cementing their intent to eliminate illegal logging.

The problem of illegal logging in the forest

Many of these loggers have inherited their occupation from the previous generation and do so, of course, to ensure that they can deliver food and shelter to their families.

One of the main goals of the KMP is to stop illegal logging practices and this means a careful and integrated approach. This problem is across the entire project forest area, and in some cases the entire village is engaged in the practice.

In other places, villagers also work as farmers. Either way, in order for the KMP team to deliver success in this area, the focus must be on education and communication.

Examples of community success in reducing illegal logging

Successful intervention in communities results in villagers being properly supported in their decision to give up illegal logging. Other actions the project undertakes to protect the peat forest include monitoring the area in order to identify logging activity.

Through the patience of the team in working with key figures within the villages, illegal transportation routes have been shut down. The project team also works to facilitate alternative ways for community members to earn money.

Data collection is also a crucial aspect of this part of the project. In order to properly identify each illegal logger, the team must carefully profile participants and find out their income. This allows for successful intervention in the form of providing alternative employment for the loggers.

Work with community doesn't stop there. When loggers put down their chainsaws and understand the damage to the climate that the practice inflicts, they are supported with project mentors in their new forms of employment.

Just as with any other start up, there isn't a total guarantee that every new occupation will be immediately successful, but the KMP team pledges support and assistance.

All of this careful, strategic work with the community is one key way that the KMP team protects the forest and battles climate change in Indonesia.

Forest restoration and habitat protection

Protecting the environment means supporting the health and wellbeing of the local community in order to achieve cooperation.

This applies to getting rid of bad practices such as illegal logging, and for the protection of the biodiversity of the concession area.

The southern part of the area consists of unique forest area. An isolated area has been created through the position of canals separating the land and from previous damage from forest fires. This area has become a 'habitat island' for large mammals.

This includes, of course, the critically endangered orangutan. Data estimates show that between 24 and 52 orangutans live within the 40 square km of habitat island.

Another key part of the project's remit is to understand the orangutans in their own forest habitat. This is crucial in order to strategize effective restoration and conservation efforts.

The KMP and carbon reduction efforts

In order to combat climate change, part of the project's efforts include the sale of carbon credits. Carbon finance is a credible and often successful way for organizations and groups to offset high carbon usage.

But the KMP goes much further by working with locals to understand the importance of reducing carbon emissions in everyday life. For example, in 2020 the project introduced the Journey to Zero challenge.

Taking place over the month of Zero Emission Day (21 September every year), the team worked to motivate the community to work together to give the earth a 'break'.

The challenge included switching out polluting transportation for walking or cycling. And, as a reward for taking part, the participants were awarded a tree planted on their behalf in the Katingan Mentaya Project zone.

By November 2022, the campaign had reached 3 million social media accounts and the application downloaded more than 2,000 times. In addition, at least 2,800 trees have been planted and the collective action taken has saved around 128 metric tonnes of carbon.

The Katingan Mentaya Project is more than just a conservation effort; it's a testament to the power of collaborative, sustainable development in addressing some of our most pressing environmental challenges. By protecting vast peatland ecosystems in Central Kalimantan, the project significantly contributes to global climate change mitigation, preserves critical habitats for numerous endangered species, and fosters socio-economic resilience among local communities. This integrated approach demonstrates that environmental stewardship can coexist with human prosperity, creating a model for future conservation initiatives worldwide.

As the project continues to evolve and adapt, it not only safeguards Indonesia's rich biodiversity but also offers hope and inspiration for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Katingan Mentaya Project serves as a compelling vision of a future where sustainable practices and community empowerment pave the way for lasting positive change.


The above content is sponsored by KMP and is being published by The SustainabilityX® Magazine. The SustainabilityX® Magazine is an award-winning, digital, female-founded, and female-led non-profit initiative bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue since 2016. As an independent, high-impact publication, The SustainabilityX® Magazine depends in part on members like you and our advertising partners for support. The SustainabilityX® Magazine does not disclose your information to any advertisers. Financial supporters play no role in The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s journalism.


About Katingan Mentaya Project

The Katingan Mentaya Project, located in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, is a groundbreaking initiative dedicated to conserving one of the world’s most significant peatland forests. This project is protecting and restoring one of the largest remaining peat swamp forests in Indonesia. Massive stores of carbon are locked away beneath the swamp's surface, while the aboveground forest habitat is home to over 5% of all remaining Bornean orangutans. Along with conserving this critical ecosystem, the project is enhancing the quality of life of rural communities by creating livelihood opportunities, formalizing land rights, and improving public services.

Spanning over 150,000 hectares, this project is pivotal in mitigating climate change by preserving extensive carbon-rich peatlands and protecting vital habitats for endangered species such as the Bornean orangutan and proboscis monkey. Managed by PT Rimba Makmur Utama, the project collaborates closely with local communities, integrating sustainable development practices that not only conserve the environment but also support the livelihoods of around 45,000 people across 35 villages. This holistic approach ensures that conservation efforts go hand in hand with improving social and economic resilience. By combining environmental stewardship with community empowerment, the Katingan Mentaya Project exemplifies a sustainable model for combating deforestation and promoting biodiversity.


About The SustainabilityX® Magazine

The SustainabilityX® Magazine is an award-winning, digital, female-founded, and female-led non-profit initiative bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue. Founded on May 8, 2016 and inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 in Sustainability Leadership awardee, Supriya Verma, the digital media initiative focuses on approaching the world’s most pressing challenges with a holistic, integrated, systems-based perspective as opposed to the traditional and ineffective siloed approach with a single lens on interdisciplinary topics like climate and energy. This initiative ultimately seeks to explore how to effectively bring the environment and economy together through intellectual, insightful dialogue and thought-provoking discussion amongst individuals across sectors taking an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to untangling the intricate web of sustainability.

The SustainabilityX® Magazine is based upon the four pillars of sustainability: Environmental Stewardship which emphasizes improved environmental health, Economic Prosperity which emphasizes economic growth without the element of capitalism, Social Inclusion which emphasizes EDI for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and marginalized, vulnerable populations, and Just Governance which emphasizes the equal rule of law via responsible political leadership to create fair systems for all. Identifying the diverse factors involved in sustainability, how they interact and how the disciplines are interconnected will help accelerate local, national, and international sustainability goals – in simpler words, aligning with The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s mission of bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue for a sustainable future. Whether you have a background in science, engineering, business, law, politics, media and entertainment, or beyond, your voice matters.

Show your support for independent, high-impact publications by becoming a subscribing member and help power international conversations that matter.

The SustainabilityX® Magazine is a proud member of the Sustainable Journalism Partnership, serves as a cause-based media partner for various events such as WIRED Impact, and officially delivers remarks at international conferences such as UNESCO’s annual World Press Freedom Day Conference. SustainabilityX® is a brand of the non-profit social business SPSX Group.



bottom of page