Sumberjaya, Lampung

The site

Sumberjaya is a sub-district in the Bukit Barisan mountain range. These mountains span the west coast of Sumatra and form the upper watersheds of all major rivers on the island. The 55 000 hectare sub-district almost coincides with the Way Besai upper watershed between 720 and 1900 metre.

The population was approximately 87 350 people in 2004. At least 40% of the sub-district is classified as ‘protection forest’ and 10% as national park. Nevertheless, forest cover has declined from 60% in 1970 to 12% in 2000, leaving vast areas of deforested hillsides. Simultaneously, coffee farms have increased dramatically.  Establishing and maintaining ‘shade coffee’ as part of the agroforestry systems has been considered to potentially slow erosion and a decline in water quality, as well as contributing to farmers’ incomes. Coffee gardens now cover around 70% of the total area. The Way Besai watershed supplies a hydroelectric run-off dam of PLTA Way Besai. Electricity generation started in 2001 with a maximum capacity of 90 MW.

The issues

The Government’s belief that uncontrolled deforestation and conversion to coffee on sloping land in Sumberjaya had led to a serious increase in erosion that threatened the operation of the newly constructed Way Besai hydropower dam and reduced water availability for irrigated paddy rice downstream resulted in the eviction of thousands of farmers from the forests between 1991 and 1996.

However, studies by the World Agroforestry Centre since 1998 show that multistrata coffee farms provided livelihoods to people and also controlled erosion in a way similar to that of natural forest. Coffee farming and forest protection should not be set as two opposite practices.

Environmental services and the people involved

Environmental services

Improving the watershed function  through community forestry and sediment reduction

People who provide the services

32 farmers’ groups with 6400 members

People who benefit from the services

PLTA Besai, downstream communities

People who act as intermediaries between the providers and the beneficiaries

Community Forestry  Farmers’ Groups Communication Forum (FKKT HKm)

The RUPES project studied three proposed rewards’ mechanisms.

First, a payment scheme involving a state-owned hydroelectric power company (PLTA), which, as a buyer ,expects better water quality.

Second, land tenure was the main reward proposed for watershed protection and carbon sequestration projects. The state forestry department was a potential provider of such a reward because it could issue permits for land uses. Local communities and the government began negotiations for legal rights to land, in exchange for better management of state forestland. The World Agroforestry Centre and local non-governmental organizations helped farmers develop community forestry schemes that envisioned land tenure for 25 years, after a 5-year trial period. Farmers’ groups obtained 5-year rights in protected forests, with two requirements: to plant trees; and protect the remaining natural forests.

Third, potential mechanisms began development to improve the quality of water for domestic uses at a local scale by introducing the possibility of direct payments.

The rewards

Community Forestry Program (Hutan Kemasyarakatan/HKm)

Since 2004, RUPES provided support to local communities to gain access to the Indonesian Government’s Community Forestry Program (Hutan Kemasyarakatan/HKm). The HKm program provides farmers with conditional land tenure to cultivate protection forest. In exchange, farmers adopt environmentally friendly farming practices and protect the remaining natural forest, thus, ensuring that the land will continue producing watershed protection benefits. The HKm program covered 70% of Sumberjaya’s protection forest, involved nearly 6400 farmers and accounted for 13 000 hectare. RUPES interpreted the HKm program as a form of reward for farmers who provided environmental services. HKm represented a major success for farmers, who were no longer at risk of eviction.

This approach is just one example of a shift toward a new paradigm of community-based forestry management.  Where opportunities for productive land use exist, such rewards may offer sufficient inducement for residents to switch to environmentally friendly land-use practices. The approach still requires a degree of community coherence and collaborative action, though, which can be a challenge where residents are recent migrants to the area. The HKm program has nonetheless shown that poor farmers can successfully rehabilitate degraded land, through establishment of coffee-based agroforestry.  This result strengthens the argument for rewarding land rights to poor farmers who provide environmental services, as a pro-poor policy of state land management. 

River Care program

Way Besai hydroelectric power company (PLTA) under Perusahaan Listrik Negara Sektor Bandar Lampung (PLN-SBDL/National Power Company Bandar Lampung Sector) management in Sumberjaya needed up to USD 1 million a year to clean sediment from their reservoir. Such a huge amount of money, however, would not be necessary if PLTA could keep sediment from reaching the reservoir in the first place.

RUPES set up a pilot project with the community in one sub-catchment at Buluh Kapur village (the sellers of the environmental service) and PLN-SBDL (the buyer) to develop a mechanism of payments for reducing sediment through a River Care program. Farmers constructed check dams, drainage along pathways and terraces. RUPES helped with the technical sediment monitoring and calculations.  Conditionality was the main principle. The River Care group were to receive USD 1000 for a reduction of 30% or more, USD 700 for a 20–30% reduction, USD 500 for 10–20% and USD 250 for less than 10%. At the end of the program, the community had executed the contract with an 86% activity success rate. Analysis of sediment concentration showed a 20% decrease by comparison with the initial baseline. The 30% reduction target was not achieved. However, PLN-SBDL very much appreciated the community’s efforts in reducing the sediment concentration in the Air Ringkih River and gave a micro-hydropower unit as a reward, regardless of the results. The appreciation showed by PLN-SBDL had a big impact on the community’s role in improving the maintenance of their environment, in particular, their watershed. This was the main result of the rewards for environmental services mechanism: the upstream community continued to manage their land using soil and water conservation techniques to maintain natural resources and reduce sedimentation.

PLN-SBDL were keen to continue their participation so the RUPES team facilitated another agreement between PLN-SBDL and West Lampung Community Forestry Farmers’ Group Communication Forum (FKKT-HKm) on 28 October 2011 for a total amount of USD 27 000 for two years (2011–2013). A community contract was signed on 28 December 2011 for implementing River Care phase 2 in Talang Anyar village. The design of the program was a replication of the previous River Care phase 1, with activities mostly combining soil and water conservation with development activities as the rewards, such as goat breeding, nursery development, rattan planting, farmers’ training in home industry and a coffee plantation demonstration plot.

Soil conservation program

This program’s aim was the reduction of sediment through water and soil conservation activities on farmers’ land, including terracing, sediment pits and weeding strip techniques.

The activities were monitored four times a year: in the third month after contract signing; at the sixth month; at the ninth month; and at the end of the contract. The farmers, as the service providers, received payment in cash to the amount of IDR 1 600 000 (USD 160) per hectare per year of the contract period.


Post-project action will focus on continuing the work that had been developed by the World Agroforestry Centre and RUPES over the last 10 years in Sumberjaya. The FKKT HKm has demonstrated their ability to be an effective  local institution that can act as an intermediary for environmental services’ schemes. They successfully built mutual trust among the parties in Sumberjaya, providing a strong basis for them to become a centre of environmental activities in the future. To maintain this will need substantial commitment from their members.  In anticipation of the potential challenges in coming years, the FKKT HKm has broadened its collaboration with several other partners, at district, provincial and national levels. 

Site partners

  • Forum Komunikasi Kelompok Tani Hutan Kemasyarakatan Lampung Barat (FKKT HKm/West Lampung Community Forestry Farmers’ Group Communication Forum)

The Forum Komunikasi Kelompok Tani HKm in West Lampung is a membership-based organization representing 30 community forestry groups, which include roughly 7000 households, of which approximately 20% are headed by women. It was established in 2008 with support from RUPES. The Forum provides technical support to its member groups and seed funding for communal investments in livelihoods-enhancing activities. Within the Forum, the women’s group is a strong sub-group, which provides its own technical guidance and micro-lending program.

  • Perusahaan Listrik Negara Sektor Bandar Lampung-National Power Company Sector Bandar Lampung (PT PLN SBDL)

PT PLN SBDL is one of the seven sectors under the management of PT PLN (Persero) Generation and Transmission, Southern Sumatra, which is responsible for generating electricity in the central and southern parts of Sumatra Island. PT PLN SBDL is responsible for supplying electricity to the Lampung System (with peak load 350–400 MW). The sector coordinates five diesel power plants and two hydropower plants, including PLTA Besai, located in Sumberjaya district with a capacity of 2 x 45 MW. This is the largest provider of electricity in Lampung province, making up almost 60% of total supply.

Contacts for more information