Community-led conservation

Community-led conservation is a critical part of the solution that is often overlooked. But forests and wildlife cannot be protected without involving and empowering the people who live there.

Elephant - Sean Kennedy photo 4

 

Why support community-led conservation in Indonesia?

Eco Farm

A well functioning ecosystem includes animals, plants and humans. But many traditional conservation projects have been narrowly focused and excluded humans. It is now widely acknowledged that engaging and partnering with local people is critical for long-term protection of biodiversity. Empowering people to change their lifestyles is often the cheapest solution with the greatest impact to reduce threats to ecosystems and wildlife.

Community-centred conservation provides alternative sources of income and food, teaches sustainable agricultural, provides education, mitigates against human-wildlife conflict, and creates employment opportunities. Community-centred conservation empowers people to become local leaders and guardians of their environment.

Helping forest communities to be actively engaged in the conservation of their environment has proven to reduce wildlife poaching, human-wildlife conflict and deforestation. It also improves the standard of living for Indigenous and local forest people.

If you want to know more about why it is important to support community-led conservation in Indonesia, you might like to read this article from The Conversation (18 Feb 2018) “We surveyed Borneo’s orangutans and found 100,000 had ‘disappeared’ “.

“The only way to actually save the chimps was to improve the lives of the
people living in poverty around chimpanzee habitat”
– Dr Jane Goodall

Community-led conservation empowers people to become wildlife guardians.

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Children are tomorrow’s conservationists! Environment kids’ club, Bukit Lawang, Sumatra

Many consider saving wildlife is important for animal welfare, the beauty of nature and for future generations to enjoy it. But just as important, wildlife conservation is crucial as it: contributes to healthy ecosystems that provide clean air and water, reduces carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, and reduces the impact of drought and floods.

Indonesia’s rainforests are facing rapid deforestation and a great deal of the unique biodiversity is critically endangered – next step is extinction. Indonesia was once known as the ‘Emerald of the Equator’ for the lush green forests carpeting its 17,000 islands. Since the 20th century, Indonesia has lost 15.79 million hectares of forest – equivalent to 15 times the size of Sydney. The lush green forests of Indonesia are being rapidly logged for rubber plantations, furniture, palm oil, pulp and paper. Illegal logging and uncontrolled burning are decimating the forests – at present rates it will be logged out within ten years.

Deforestation contributes to: climate change, floods, drought, exposure to tsunamis, soil erosion, environmental degradation, increasing regional temperatures and reducing rainfall. Devastatingly, deforestation displaces the Indigenous peoples who live in the rainforest and rely on it for their survival. Rainforests contain the largest proportion of the Earth’s biodiversity (at least 50 per cent of the world’s 10 million species). The loss of rainforest habitat is the number one contributor to the decline of critically endangered wildlife.

“The forests of Borneo and Sumatra are among the most biologically diverse habitats on Earth, possessing staggeringly high numbers of unique plants and animals”
– World Wildlife Fund Indonesia 

Indonesia now has the highest deforestation rate in the world, topping even Brazil, which has more than five times the natural forest cover (Mongabay.com).

Critically endangered wildlife is under threat of extinction:

  • 80 per cent of orangutan habitat has disappeared in the last 20 years
  • 1200 Sumatran elephants left in the wild
  • 300 Sumatran tigers left in the wild
  • 75 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild.

Rate of deforestation in Borneo


(Source http://www.brinccborneo.org)

Rate of deforestation in Sumatra

(Source Mongabay.com)

Read more about deforestation in Indonesia at:

https://news.mongabay.com/2014/06/despite-moratorium-indonesia-now-has-worlds-highest-deforestation-rate/