North Sumatra Sustainable Landscapes Partnership (SLP)

Challenges · Agroforestry · Biodiversity · Climate Change · Deforestation · Food Security · Livelihoods

Landscape Profile

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Aek Mais River flows down from the Batang Gadis watershed in Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra.

North Sumatra Sustainable Landscapes Partnership (SLP)

Approximate size (hectares)

Approximately 7,298,100


Approximately 13.76 million


Tropical Rainforest

Production Systems

Coffee, Durian, Forestry, Palm, Rice, Rubber


North Sumatra is a diverse matrix of local communities, biodiversity-rich tropical forest, and agricultural cultivation. More than 80% of the people living in North Sumatra earn income from agriculture, including irrigated rice production, coffee, rubber, durian, sugar palm, and cinnamon agroforestry, oil palm and rubber plantations, and vegetable cultivation. Orangutans, tigers, tapirs, hornbills, and many other species inhabit the area, 25% of which is forested and which includes Batang Gadis National Park, Batang Toru Protected Area, and Angkola Lowland Forests and Peat Lands. Challenges include a lack of sustainable livelihood options and technical and market information for local community residents, high rates of deforestation and biodiversity loss, limited sustainable finance opportunities, air and water pollution, and flooding and landslides.

Voices From The Field

Simon Badcock

SLP has proven to be an exciting professional and personal journey that I have been privileged to have been involved with for the past 3+ years. The SLP framework and four pillars (natural capital, governance, sustainable production and sustainable finance) provides a simple but effective approach from which to address key issues surrounding conservation, climate change, natural resource management and sustainable production within a given setting. Working at a landscape level is challenging, complicated but incredibly rewarding. It is important to cultivate and ensure synergies both internally and more importantly with external stakeholders who are the key to driving change – both processes are iterative, requiring innovation and take time to build. Additionally, it is critical to understand local actors, dynamics, political/economic realities while at the same time providing evidence-based science, appropriate capacity building/training and information that is accessible providing the rationale for landscape change!

Simon Badcock Senior Terrestrial Program Advisor, Conservation International

Major Successes


Building a Cross-Sector Partnership

SLP is a public-private-civic partnership founded by USAID, Walton Family Foundation, and Conservation International to support improved livelihoods and reduced deforestation through low emission rural development. Using a framework of good governance, natural capital, and sustainable production, SLP has already begun to achieve success on the ground in North Sumatra. Keys to success have included close cooperation with local government and strong private sector engagement. A cross-sectoral landscapes approach has been essential to addressing the complex and intersecting challenges facing the region. Ensuring vertical (national, provincial, district stakeholders) and horizontal (cross-sectoral stakeholders) is also a critical element to working at a landscape scale.


Planning and Assessment

SLP has helped develop Sustainable Investment Action Plans (SIAP) for three districts and the entire province of North Sumatra. The project has also supported the completion of Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) as a mandated requirement to inform provincial and district spatial plans ensuring key issues linked with conservation, climate change and sustainable production are included. Partners have also created the Mandailing Natal Forest Management Plan for sustainable timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs).


Private Sector and Supply Chain Engagement

SLP has provided technical assistance to 5,500 farmers that helped them achieve >25% yield increases and support for the Joint Secretariat for Sustainable Palm Oil in North Sumatra with 17 palm oil companies committing to adhere to best production practices.


Support for Protected Areas

SLP has used the Spatial Monitoring & Reporting Tool to improve management practices in 12 protected areas, supported improved management of protected areas and watersheds through existing agencies or providing support to establish critical institutions, and helped to establish six large Village Forests and Community Forests and conservation agreements in 43 villages.

Working Together

Partners that support SLP include Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, local governments, private sector companies and corporations, and local communities. By developing and scaling sustainable business models, assisting with land use planning and management, providing technical assistance and training to farmers to improve yields without ecosystem conversion, channeling investments and sustainable supply chain activities, and advancing a public awareness campaign, project partners have worked together to achieve these goals.

To coordinate these activities, CI facilitates a Management Council to provide overarching guidance and strategic direction, an Associates Committee (multi-stakeholder forum) of additional private sector partners to provide key insights on sustainable supply chain dynamics, a Steering Committee (functional working group) in each district to monitor and evaluate implementation activities, and a variety of multi-stakeholder dialogues to engage the broader community.

To learn more about the project, please visit the CI SLP website.

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