USAID’s LESTARI project, implemented from 2015–2020, advanced the Government of Indonesia’s self-reliance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land use and to conserve biodiversity in carbon-rich and biologically significant forest and mangrove ecosystems. LESTARI applied a landscape approach, integrating forest and peatland conservation with low emissions development on degraded land. LESTARI aimed to: improve land use governance; enhance protected area management and species protection; ensure sustainable private sector and industry practices; and expand constituencies for conservation among various stakeholders.

Through LESTARI, USAID targeted six strategic landscapes in three provinces (Aceh, Central Kalimantan, Papua) with the most intact primary forest cover and greatest carbon stocks.

Fast Facts

More than 17,000 of Indonesia’s tropical islands contain some of the highest levels of biological diversity across the globe, making it a Tier One priority country for USAID biodiversity funding. As such, LESTARI operationalizes USAID’s Biodiversity Policy in its activities and approaches on the ground, especially with regards to the Conservation Co-Management related work. LESTARI deploys a dynamic array of tools and approaches involving community engagement and data-driven monitoring and enforcement to effectively reduce incidences of poaching, wildlife trafficking, and other activities destructive to biodiversity occurring in and around Protected Areas.

Download the LESTARI Fast Facts PDF File

LESTARI results

  • Reduced 76 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) from the land use sector across all landscapes, equivalent to the emissions from more than 13 million cars driven in one year.
  • Improved management of 7.5 million hectares of biodiverse forest and peatlands, including critical orangutan habitat, equivalent to the size of South Carolina.
  • $33.8 million of Indonesia’s domestic funding resources mobilized to support sustainable forest and peatland management.
  • 62% reduction in poaching within biodiversity hotspots of Leuser National Park of Aceh province, and Cyclops Nature Reserve and Lorentz National Park of Papua province.
  • 41,535 people from rural communities with livelihood benefits improved, including higher incomes and secure access to land.
  • 25 public-private partnerships formed to improve market access for local farmers and enhance value chains for sustainably produced forest commodities.

Project Resources

Champions of the Forest: A compilation of the photos and perspectives of 40 Champions that have partnered with LESTARI.

Understanding the Drivers of Deforestation and the Policies Incentivizing Forest Conversion in Forest and Peatland in the Leuser LandscapeThis report provides an analysis of encroachment and the drivers of deforestation and peatland conversion in the Leuser Landscape, with a focus on Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve (WR).

Singkil Concept Note: an analysis of the threats facing the peatlands of Aceh Province, Indonesia and the resulting implications for climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation efforts.

Multi-Layered Conservation Management in Leuser LandscapeThis technical brief describes the core activities, their achievements, sustainability and replicability, lessons learned, and recommendations for future work to conserve biodiversity in carbon rich and biologically important forest and mangrove ecosystems.

Smart Patrols and Protected Area ManagementThis brief describes the USAID LESTARI project partnership achievements in increasing ranger patrol effort to reduce the primary drivers of biodiversity loss and deforestation, and reflects upon the lessons learned, with recommendations made for the future direction of this key aspect of protected area management.

Making a Difference

Capturing the Charismatic: Gunung Leuser National Park, in Indonesia, is the only place on earth that is home to tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinos. To protect these species requires a clear understanding of their location and abundance.

Reduced Impact Logging: A Commitment Towards SustainabilityWell-managed forest concessions that apply modern best practice can sustain high conservation value forest, preserve wildlife habitat, and produce long-term economic benefits.

Facilitating Zero Deforestation Pledge from Indonesian Essential Oils IndustryUSAID LESTARI works with a range of private sector partners operating within its landscapes in order to secure their commitments towards low emissions business practices that reduce deforestation and improve conditions for biodiversity conservation.

Cru Trumon: Turning Conflict into CoexistenceUSAID LESTARI supports a dedicated Conservation Response Unit (CRU) in Trumon Wildlife Corridor. The corridor comprises 27,000 hectares of land that connects Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve and Leuser National Park, and hence is important for biodiversity movement.

Stories from the Field