This one-year project (from April 2021) is being funded under the COP26 Trilateral Research initiative, which is supporting four research collaborations between universities in the UK, Japan, and ASEAN countries to address various aspects of climate change. This research partnership is investigating forest bioenergy potential within non-protected wild plant species in Indonesia’s Wallacea region, and working with the local community to develop these.
- Indonesia has a mandated bioenergy target of up to 40 per cent of the national energy consumption by 2030. However, current policy relies strongly on oil palm, which is responsible for problems such as deforestation.
- The Wallacea region is one of the top locations in the world for biodiversity. Many areas of the rainforest are remote and difficult to access, but this research is using artificial intelligence to estimate bioenergy levels by analysing the make-up of large areas of forest using photos taken by drones, as well as assessing the energy potential of the plant species identified.
- The understanding and support of the local population are vital to conservation. The Indonesian partners, located in the Wallacea region, are working with them to teach them about the bioenergy in the plants around them, encouraging more sustainable management of natural resources.
Cntributing to climate action
The project is aligned to Indonesian policy targets for bioenergy generation, and is working with the main stakeholders, from national to local level, to create environmentally sustainable ways to reduce CO2 emissions.
Reinforcing COP26 priorities
CO2 emissions reduction is essential, but it is important to find energy sources which do not create other environmental problems and make a positive contribution to the local population.
70 per cent of the residents of the area covered by this project are farmers, who rely on forest resources for the majority of their income; fewer than 20 per cent have been educated beyond elementary school. The project aims to bring awareness about the potential of bioenergy to generate income and so enhance education access for their children, improving the lives of local people as well as contributing to climate priorities.
Birmingham City University (UK), University of Tokyo (Japan), Gorontalo State University (Indonesia)
Why the British Council?
The British Council has longstanding relationships with the higher education sector and policymakers in each of the participating countries, enabling us to run a research call and support the grant recipients in disseminating their findings.