The Landscape Monitoring Initiative aims to advance forest conservation and deforestation reduction through an inclusive and collaborative approach in North Kalimantan, Riau and Aceh Province, Indonesia. This will enable multiple benefits of climate mitigation, forest conservation, and sustainability of commodity supply chains, with potential for scale across jurisdictions.


Riau, Aceh and North Kalimantan Provinces


Aceh and North Kalimantan are two provinces among only around five provinces in Indonesia that exhibit a high proportion of intact forest landscapes within its border. In a world where most forests are fragmented (70% of the world’s forests lie within 1km of a disturbance), large and intact forests are particularly valuable. They deliver more ecosystem services, regulate weather effectively, as well as store and cycle carbon better and foster continuing evolution and healthy animal populations. Aceh for instance, is the only place where elephants, tigers, orangutans, and rhinos co-exist.

Between Aceh and North Kalimantan, the two provinces are host to 10% of Indonesia’s remaining forests (3 million and 5.6 million hectares of remaining forest respectively). For Aceh, primary forest covers 54% of its total land mass, and for North Kalimantan, primary forest covers 82.5% of its total land mass. From 2001 to 2020, Aceh lost 710kha of tree cover, equivalent to a 14% decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 416Mt of CO₂e emissions. 275kha of that loss were primary forest loss. The main drivers of deforestation in these two provinces were commodities production (mainly for palm oil) and illegal logging.

The initiative will address future deforestation in these two provinces with a cutting-edge radar-based forest monitoring system and multistakeholder collaboration to implement collective forest monitoring and deforestation intervention in the jurisdiction.

On the other hand, although the remaining forest in Riau Province is not as extensive as Aceh and North Kalimantan Province, Riau is the largest producer of palm oil in Indonesia. In 2019, the area of oil palm plantations in Riau almost reached 2.5 million hectares with a production of 7.6 million tons. These condition makes Riau’s landscape an important example of how the private sector can contribute to forest monitoring beyond concessions and at the same time ensure compliance to NDPE commitment for sustainable palm oil production, as well as to support the sustainable development program in the jurisdiction.


The Landscape Monitoring Initiative will pilot a forest monitoring system and multi-stakeholder collaboration structure, involving local government agencies, supply chain actors, and civil society groups. This coordinated approach is developed to improve efficiency and maximize potential for impact and scalability, as compared to individual monitoring initiatives.

The Landscape Monitoring Initiative utilises the Radar Alerts for Detecting Deforestation (RADD) system, a radar-based monitoring technology developed by Wageningen University and Satelligence, and facilitated by World Resources Institute (WRI). Using radar waves, the innovative system can penetrate cloud cover and gather forest change information without being affected by clouds or sunlight. The RADD database is publicly available on the Global Forest Watch platform and will augment optical-based satellite tools which can be delayed when clouds obstruct the view of forests.

To deliver end-to-end deforestation monitoring and intervention, WRI Indonesia will build a consensus among key stakeholders on prioritisation of RADD alerts, landscape monitoring verification, and intervention protocols. The landscape monitoring initiative consists of three key stages:

  1. RADD alerts prioritization: the system automatically generates monthly prioritized alerts based on the clustering of the “raw” RADD alerts, proximity to mills and palm oil concessions, and the existence of high conservation value in the pixels (such as peatland and forests cover). This allows all stakeholders to maximize the use of its resources by verifying and responding to the most critical deforestation events.
  2. Landscape monitoring verification protocol: in consultation with the corporate partners and local government, WRI Indonesia setup a collective verification protocol where every tract of land in that jurisdiction is assigned to a “verifiers” entity, and they are responsible to do ground verifications once a RADD alert is detected. The protocol also standardized the information being gathered during the ground verification (e.g. key questions, visual check, etc.) and how it is being catalogued in a central database.
  3. Landscape monitoring response/intervention protocol: WRI Indonesia facilitates the development of a response/intervention protocol that includes all key relevant stakeholders that have land managerial function in the corresponding jurisdiction (e.g. Forest Management Unit, mill & concession owners, buyers of key commodities, national park authority, local agriculture & land agencies).


RADD coalition, CORE coalition, Sustainable Trade Initiative, Forum Konservasi Leuser, local government, Wageningen University


The project is funded by:

  1. RADD Coalition and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for piloting in Siak District, Riau Province
  2. CORE Coalition through Siak-Pelalawan Landscape Program (SPLP) for piloting in Pelalawan District, Riau Province
  3. Sustainable Trade Initiative for piloting in Aceh Tamiang District, Aceh Province
  4. Quantedge Advancement Initiative for piloting in Aceh and North Kalimantan Province

RELEASE: Palm Oil Industry to Jointly Develop Radar Monitoring Technology to Detect Deforestation | World Resources Institute (