Our Science

DbD (Development by Design)

Hutan Kalimantan Timur
Dyera costulata A hundreds of years old tree in the heart of Merabu village, Berau, East Kalimantan. © YKAN

Indonesia is committed to achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) target

Namely, reducing 29 – 41% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from business as usual (BAU) scenarios by 2030. In addition to achieving its GHG emissions reduction target, Indonesia is committed to increasing its gross domestic income by 5% per year and decreasing the national poverty rate to below 4% by 2025.

Bercocok tanam
The plan Merabu villagers plan how to maintain their new protected forest and livelihoods, traditions and plants and animals.

Increasing economic development by using land and natural resources plays an important role in improving people’s living standards. However, without thorough planning, land-based economic growth can generate GHG emissions and biodiversity losses.

YKAN integrated conservation planning with development forecasting in an approach called Development by Design (DbD) to improve land use decision-making among stakeholders with differing objectives in a landscape. Specifically, the DbD approach combines landscape-level planning with mitigation hierarchy: avoid, minimize, restore, and offset. This approach is applied to support good land usage planning, help decision-makers prevent and mitigate conflicts between development impacts and conservation priorities, and give advice on conservation compensation actions (or offsets), if needed, to achieve better results for people and nature.

Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) tackles this challenge through its Development by Design (DbD) strategy, which blends conservation planning with development forecasting. The strategy aims to enhance the outcomes of land use decision-making by accommodating diverse stakeholder objectives. DbD specifically integrates landscape-level planning with a mitigation hierarchy—avoiding, minimizing, restoring, and offsetting—to facilitate robust land use planning. This approach aids decision-makers in preventing and mitigating conflicts between development impacts and conservation priorities. It also offers guidance on conservation compensation actions (or offsets) when needed, aiming for improved outcomes for society and nature.

The DbD approach can be applied at two levels: landscape and site. At the landscape level, DbD focuses on evaluating conservation priorities, assessing cumulative impacts, identifying potential conflict between development and conservation objectives, and providing spatial recommendations for identifying mitigation priorities. This helps optimize decisions related to land use for both development and conservation interests. At the site level, such as within a forestry concession, DbD is applied to review possible impacts, give recommendations where development goals conflict with landscape objectives, and, if necessary, assist in planning offset strategies to mitigate impacts.


Increasing economic development through the sustainable use of land and natural resources plays an important role in improving people’s living standards.