To show more about the work of Form International and the people behind their projects, in this article, we highlight the work of Peter de Haan. Since the start of 2023, he is a Senior Expert in Sustainable Tropical Landscapes at Form International. With experience in international initiatives like the Borneo Initiative and WWF, and a passion for tropical forests and the preservation of biodiversity, Peter’s work focuses on finding innovative ways to ensure the well-being of both ecosystems and local communities. At Form International, Peter leads projects that engage stakeholders effectively, ensuring a balance between natural, social, and economic aspects. His work aims to drive positive change in landscapes. The driving force behind his work lies in his passion for forests, their flora, fauna, and the communities that depend on them.
Peter’s journey began in the sector of tropical agriculture, where he witnessed the need for sustainable practices. However, his focus shifted towards a broader perspective encompassing entire tropical forest landscapes. He became determined to explore ways to optimize the management of these areas, seeking a balance between production and conservation, while improving the conditions for local communities. While social considerations are often seen as obligations by businesses, some have started recognizing the societal importance and the positive impact they can make. He is committed to creating a better understanding of the dynamics between companies, communities, and the environment.
Engaging local partners
In the projects Peter is involved with, he aims to ensure that all stakeholders have a voice in decision-making processes and benefit rightly from the resources involved. One of the goals is to generate fair income streams from forests, making alternative land uses less attractive: “By empowering local communities and ensuring they have a part in the benefits derived from forest resources, we can create powerful incentives for sustainable forest use. When communities directly benefit from the forests, it becomes less attractive to pursue alternative land uses that could harm these valuable ecosystems. It’s about shifting the narrative from exploitation to conservation, where the well-being of both people and nature are intertwined. Through this approach, we can adopt a sense of ownership and stewardship among local communities, driving the conservation and sustainable management of the forests.”
Form International plays a crucial role in promoting effective forest management and has the technical expertise necessary to achieve sustainable results. Form International offers expert advice, possessing a background in landscape management, reforestation, and the Treevive initiative that bridges the gap between environmental conservation and investment. Peter is excited about collaborating with local partners in the countries where they operate: “Collaborating closely with local partners is essential in our work. Their knowledge, perspectives, and dedication are invaluable in ensuring the effectiveness and long-term sustainability of our projects. Together, we can make a real difference in empowering communities and protecting our forests for future generations.”
Empowering local communities
Presently, Peter is involved in carbon projects, particularly in Indonesia and Liberia. The initiative in Liberia focuses on empowering indigenous communities to independently manage their forests and directly benefit from the associated income streams. This is an complicated and fascinating program facilitated by IDH (the Sustainable Trade Initiative), involving the allocation of traditional land rights to communities. Form International acts as an advisor to IDH, helping shape the program’s implementation and exploring avenues to transform potential forest management income into a reality for these communities. With the program encompassing around 700,000 hectares of untouched forest, it stands as one of the largest initiatives of its kind.
Another project that Peter is engaged in takes place in Sumatra, Indonesia, within the Leuser Ecosystem. In collaboration with a local foundation called the Leuser Conservation Forum, Peter and his team are working on a program to transform a former logging concession into a conservation and restoration program. The Rimba Collective, comprising major consumer industry players, has stepped forward to finance the conservation and restoration aspects of this initiative through results-based payments for ecosystem services. Their commitment demonstrates a genuine desire to contribute to better forest management, landscape preservation, and conservation. Soon we will also publish a story on this specific project.
These projects illustrate the powerful impact of Form International’s work, empowering communities and protecting forests. Passion for forests, coupled with a holistic approach to landscape management, drives positive change and fosters sustainability. By engaging stakeholders effectively and ensuring fair benefits for communities, Form International creates incentives for sustainable forest use and helps to preserve the forests. Through technical expertise and collaboration with local partners, complex challenges are navigated and pave the way for effective forest management. Peter: “I am grateful to be part of an organization and projects that are dedicated to benefiting both communities and forests. Working towards sustainable solutions makes me happy, knowing that our efforts are making a positive impact on people’s lives and preserving our precious natural resources. Together, we can create a better future for both present and future generations.”