The Living Landscapes Programme (LLP) combines conservation and sustainable development by integrating the protection of forests, wildlife and rivers, with RSPO certified production of oil palm, and restoration of ecological corridors and riparian reserves.
The Three Pillars of the LLP are:
The programme’s key impacts aim to reduce deforestation by achieving the following outcomes:
First-ever China Buyers’ Visit to Sabah
LLP hosted the first study tour for Chinese buyers in collaboration with WWF-China from 27 to 29 November 2019, and partnered with two companies, Sabah Softwoods Berhad (SSB) and Sawit Kinabalu (SK) to host the group in their respective estates. A total of 14 participants from various disciplines came with interest to learn about the conservation initiatives and sustainable palm oil production in Sabah. The visit was aimed to build a link between Chinese stakeholders and RSPO producers in Sabah and information exchange between Sabah growers and Chinese stakeholders on RSPO production of palm oil, besides serving as an opportunity for WWF-Malaysia to introduce LLP to the group.
SSB Wildlife Corridor in Tawau
In March 2019, WWF-Malaysia and Sabah Softwoods Berhad (SSB) signed a grant agreement for the co-financing of restoration work of the wildlife corridor in Brumas, Tawau to provide connectivity for elephants and other wildlife in Ulu Kalumpang Forest Reserve to the larger Mount Louisa Forest Reserve / Ulu Segama forests. SSB has since planted 126.11 hectares within the wildlife corridor. Seedling survival has been recorded at an average of 80% in the planted areas. This programme is in line with WWF-Malaysia’s goal to develop more ecological corridors and riparian reserves to be managed and restored in Lower Sugut and Tawau landscapes by 2025.
Formation of Growers’ Cooperative in Tawau
The LLP team had facilitated the formation of a cooperative in Tawau called Koperasi Landskap Kelapa Sawit Sabah Bhd (LKSS) which aimed to engage and assist medium size growers in preparing for group certification, firstly under the MSPO and after that under the RSPO system. The cooperative has more than 300 members at the moment with a cumulative hectarage of about 16,000 hectares. This will lead to the outcome of supporting 650 growers (small & medium-size) in 3 landscapes covering 70,000ha to produce RSPO certified/ NDPE compliant palm oil by 2025.
Land-use Planning Report for Tawau and Lower Sugut Landscape
A land-use planning report was created for Tawau and Lower Sugut Landscape to serve as a tool for consultation with stakeholders. It analysed the potential of conflicts to the ‘PROTECT’ pillar arising from planned infrastructure development and agricultural expansion. Examples of such a conflict include the one in Tawau landscape, where a proposed road expansion will be cutting through Tawau Hills Park and Ulu Kalumpang Forest Reserve. The planned infrastructure project is expected to create habitat fragmentation and provide easy access to poachers to conduct their illegal activities.
Collaboration with WWF-US for Videos on Landscape Approaches
LLP and WWF-US collaborated to develop a series of videos for corporate engagement and public awareness on landscape approaches. The objectives of the video production are to engage the public and corporate bodies on the need to protect and restore forests, to understand the threats and opportunities of better palm oil production, and in particular to understand the tenets of the Living Landscape approaches of PROTECT (living forests); PRODUCE (palm oil, other forest products); and RESTORE (restore degraded landscapes). The videos were filmed in February 2020 in Tawau, Sabah, and are set to be released by November 2020.
High Conservation Value – Assessor Licensing Scheme (HCV-ALS) Training
The LLP team engaged Proforest to train 25 participants; seven of whom were stakeholders from Tawau; to help them gain greater depth of understanding of the HCV concept. The training succeeded in producing quality HCV assessors with a standardised approach to HCV assessments. The training also helped develop internal WWF-Malaysia expertise on HCV interpretation and identification through a simulated HCV assessment using the latest guidance and best practices for HCV assessments as per the HCVRN Assessor’s manual.
As HCV is an important tool in the context of certification schemes such as FSC and RSPO, it is expected to help WWF-Malaysia to better promote this concept and provide technical advice to companies that are pursuing certification schemes as part of their business strategies to meet a wider market demand. On top of that, WWF-Malaysia also hopes to provide leadership, best practices, research and support through the HCV approach within the state of Sabah as part of its conservation agenda.