Skip to the content
Indonesia is unquestionably one of the world’s top biodiversity rich countries and thus a priority for global conservation. The Indonesian archipelago’s 17,000 islands are home to roughly 12% of the world’s mammals, 16% of the world’s reptiles and amphibians, 17% of the world’s birds and 25% of global fish populations. Yet this biodiversity faces a myriad of threats including logging and palm oil plantation expansion.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) established a formal country programme in Indonesia in 1996 with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Forestry. We have since built up an extensive network of partners ranging from forest-edge communities and civil society organisations to government and private business.
People are at the centre of our conservation initiatives. We are at the forefront of efforts to help communities map their customary forests and gain official recognition of their right to manage these areas.
FFI’s innovative approach has catalysed change through a number of flagship programmes in Indonesia, including the community ranger initiative which has transformed former combatants, wildlife poachers and loggers into champions of the environment.
We are also pioneering sustainable financing mechanisms through reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) initiatives in Aceh and Kalimantan. Our work on surveying what is called ‘High Conservation Value Forest’ has also been critical in protecting key orang-utan habitat from conversion to palm oil plantations or other destructive activities.
Indonesia is home to more than 100 Critically Endangered tree species, many of which require urgent conservation action to prevent their extinction. However few tree species are subject to legal protection or conservation action. Through the Global Trees Campaign programme, FFI and local partners are supporting the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to develop and implement a national action plan for the country’s most threatened species, including a number of highly threatened dipterocarps – huge trees that are the skyscrapers of Southeast Asia’s forest. FFI is also working on the ground to guide the implementation of the plan, helping local government and community groups to effectively protect and plant these remarkable species in Java, Kalimantan and Sumatra.
Focusing on the globally important Ulu Masen tiger population, this project is strengthening the capacity of government agencies to work with community rangers (consisting of former combatants, illegal loggers and wildlife poachers) in tackling poaching and illegal logging (both major threats to tigers).
FFI has encouraged patrols to use the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) to ensure a systematic and robust law enforcement response. In 2011, 74 forest patrols (covering over 1,660 km) removed eight tiger snare traps and prevented 145 incidents of illegal logging. Tigers are being monitored inside the forest using camera traps. At the forest edge, the community rangers are supporting affected villages to build tiger-proof goat and buffalo pens that reduce livestock losses.
The project is helping the Aceh government to incorporate tiger conservation into policy development through the production of a technical report that assesses the environmental impact of planned road construction on tiger forest habitat, and the completion of a human-tiger conflict protocol.
Aceh’s coastal systems contain some of the highest concentrations of biodiversity in the world, with Critically Endangered species like leatherback turtles, and genetically unique species such as giant clams. To protect these vital resources from unsustainable fishing practices, FFI is working with coastal communities and the Government of Aceh’s Marine and Fisheries Agency to identify the areas of highest conservation importance. To secure these, FFI is empowering the customary leaders and coastal communities to work with local government in implementing a network of 23 Locally Managed Marine Areas spanning over 300,000 hectares across the entire province.
This co-management system uniquely combines customary marine law and government policy, and is being implemented through several core components: conservation capacity building of key stakeholders, marine policy development, establishment of conflict resolution systems, coastal community livelihood development, and coral reef and fish stock surveys to assess project impact.
FFI is assisting village communities in their efforts to restore, rehabilitate and sustainably utilise deforested and degraded areas within designated community forest areas in West Kalimantan and Sumatra. This project focuses on both native and threatened tree species, as well as multi-purpose tree species, which are typically found in mature agro-forests and can provide villagers with high-value fruits and other non-timber forest products.
In 2011, FFI responded to 45 incidents of human-elephant conflict, spending 273 nights preventing crop-raiding forays, benefiting over 500 households. Elephant crop-raiding represents one of the greatest threats to the livelihood of farming communities on the Ulu Masen boundary. FFI has established three Conservation Response Units in the conflict hotspots. They use once-captive elephants and their mahouts (handlers) for direct field-based conservation interventions. This project aims to support the conservation of wild elephants and their habitat while creating local employment.
FFI has been conducting landscape-level assessments of High Conservation Value Forests since 2007 in Kapuas Hulu and Ketapang districts, West Kalimantan. The results support spatial planning revisions and identification of district protection areas. FFI is engaging in the revision of spatial planning and provides support to local government. Seven village forests have been established in Ketapang, and similar initiatives for 15 other villages are in the pipeline.
FFI also works with the private sector to protect critical landscapes in Ketapang and Kayong Utara districts, which consist of orang-utan corridor habitat connecting Gunung Palung National Park with the southern and northern peat swamp forests. This corridor overlaps with parts of two oil palm concessions. In order to develop further financial incentives for the community and conservation of forest in these landscapes, FFI is now developing REDD+ demonstration activities in concessions and community forests.
FFI is helping the Sarolangun Forest Management Unit to compile the relevant documentation for a landscape-scale REDD+ project over 122,000 hectares that form part of the Kerinci National Park buffer zone and are a key tiger habitat.
In 2006, FFI helped form the AKAR network of local NGOs in four provinces around Kerinci Seblat National Park to promote collaborative efforts to address threats to the protected area and its buffer zone, such as illegal road construction, forest clearance and human-wildlife conflict. FFI provides technical advice and supports awareness raising, fundraising and other activities. AKAR members have developed community forest protection patrols, defeated plans to convert the forest to pulp timber and palm plantations, and blocked road construction in the park.
FFI is working with local partners to empower forest-edge communities in three districts to sustainably manage vital forest blocks bordering the national park, through establishment of legally recognised ‘Village and Customary Forests’ and associated capacity building. The programme is also enhancing direct community benefits from forests by supporting improvements in agricultural practices, linking communities to markets for high-value non-timber forest products, establishing and strengthening community enterprises and developing community-REDD+ mechanisms to reward successful efforts to protect forests and biodiversity.
Of the estimated 350-400 Sumatran tigers in the wild, more than 150 are found in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park. Since 2000 FFI has been working with the park authorities and local communities to strengthen tiger protection through forest patrols and undercover investigations and law enforcement operations to combat illegal trafficking of tigers and tiger parts. The work of the tiger protection units has led to the successful prosecution of dozens of poachers and traders. The team also conducts human-wildlife conflict mitigation, responds to wildlife emergencies and works to secure key tiger habitat in and around the park.
Following years of unprecedented pressure from organised illegal wildlife trade syndicates, there is growing evidence that the poaching threat is reducing, while tiger populations are stable in the project’s focus areas. FFI is also helping the park authorities and a specialist team to monitor Sumatran tigers and their prey, and mentoring park staff to build their biodiversity monitoring skills.