Collaboration Management Initiative for Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) Habitat Protection  - Indonesia

Project location: Indonesia, Dolok Sibual Buali Nature Reserve, North Sumatra
Project start date: July 2012 - Project end date: July 2013
Project number: 2012-015
Beneficiary: Sumatra Rainforest Institute

The project, which was awarded a grant by the Nando Peretti Foundation, aims at guaranteeing the survival of the Sumatran Orangutans through the creation of a more effective and innovative management system for the Dolok Sibual Buali Natural Reserve in North Sumatra, one of the last habitat of this critically endangered species. 

Orangutans are one of the exclusively Asian species of great apes. Currently, they are only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii), in particular, are concentrated in the northern part of the island, where they are nonetheless critically endangered mainly due to habitat destruction and poaching. In 2004 the orangutan population was estimated at 500 - 600 individuals in the Tapanuli region, while the number of individual orangutans in the Batang Toru Forest was estimated at 380, with a density of 197.07 ha / individual. The surveyed area covers 74 886 ha. The Dolok Sibual Buali Nature Reserve, in particular, hosts still less than 27 individuals while its carrying capacity is of 47-56 individuals. 

Such a potential carrying capacity of the Dolok Sibual Buali area, with its 5,000 hectares of forest and biodiversity, is not adequately supported by the Nature Reserve Forest Management, which mainly focuses on guarding the area by disturbance and threats, as well as on implementing the ban on public activities in the region. 

The main problems the management authority of the Dolok Sibual Buali Nature Reserve Forest has been facing are: (1) Illegal logging (2) Agricultural encroachment; (3) High level of inbreeding within the orangutan population group due to the isolation of the Dolok sibual buali Forest from the main Batang Toru forest ecosystem ; (4) Human-Orangutan conflict ; (5) Very low economic income of the local community and (6) Lack of forest management infrastructures and of well-trained personnel on the field. 

Alternative and more effective management strategies are therefore needed to solve the problems mentioned above. With the present project the Sumatra Rainforest Institute (SRI) is seeking to improve the Nature Reserve management for the Dolok Sibual Buali Reserve. 

The activities foreseen by the project are: 

1. Scientific study and creation of a multi-stakeholders Council In the first phase of the project, a scientific study will be conducted on the field by using the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), an approach aimed at incorporating the knowledge and opinions of rural people in the planning of the long-term Natural Reserve management and the Sumatran orangutan conservation strategy. In a second phase, the draft study will be discussed by field experts in a series of round table meetings. The third phase is the finalization of the document in public consultation through a multi-stakeholders workshop. The final document will be submitted for registration and approval to the Nature Resource Conservation Agency (BBKSDA). 

2. Capacity Building on forest management & sustainable agriculture The capacity building scheme will be developed starting from the formulation of training modules on forest management and sustainable agriculture. They will be the result of an active collaboration between local government, ministry of forestry (BBKSDA), local University and SRI staff. The forest management training will be conducted in 1 (one) week or less by using interactive class room methods, and sustainable agriculture training will be conducted by using field farmer school methods. 

3. Ecological quality improvement through community based forest restoration. A field survey will be first carried out, aimed at identifying those areas both of the Nature Reserve and of the community lands (customary forest) which most need to be restored through tree seedling (especially indigenous tree species). In the second semester of project, the tree planting routine agenda will be discussed and agreed on by the local community including time schedule, location, target lands and methodology. The aim is to increase awareness and participation among the local communities in the forest and orangutan conservation efforts. 

4. CSR & local government fund engagement for Dolok Sibual Buali & Orangutan conservation. An important goal is to ensure that the Multi-stakeholder Council will have enough financial resources/funding for the implementation of short, middle and long term objectives for conservation of Dolok Sibual Buali Nature reserve. In order to achieve such a financial sustainability, a fundraising training course for the staff of the Multi-stakeholder Council will be organized, aimed at providing them with the knowledge and technical skills which are necessary for effective corporate fundraising.  The Sumatra Rainforest Institute (SRI) is a not-for-profit institution, established in 2004 as non-governmental organization, committed to biodiversity conservation through educational and awareness programs. SRI also concentrates much of its efforts on running several natural resources management projects, with the financial support of various international donors. SRI collaborates with several National and International conservation alliances, including: Asia Forest Partnership (AFP), Wetland Link International (WLI) Sumatran Orang-utan forum, Sumatran tiger forum and Sumatran elephant forum. In North Sumatra, SRI has been implementing some community-based forest and endangered species conservation programs. Since the beginning of 2011, SRI has implementing an awareness campaign for Sumatran orangutan and forests in Dolok Sipirok Nature reserve by conducting several community meetings in the villages and by producing outreach material.

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