The Orangutan Information Centre (OIC) has been conducting a forest restoration project in the Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP), to undo the damage caused through the large-scale conversion of at least 500 hectares by two relatively small plantation companies operating in the Besitang subdistrict of Langkat district, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Since the programme’s inception in 2007, thus far 254,000 seedlings from 57 indigenous tree species have been cultivated and planted on 236 hectares of degraded national park land. The programme took place in the SPTN VI Sei Betung Resort of the GLNP, in collaboration with the park authority, as well as with KETAPEL (~Farmer Protector’s Group of Leuser), a local community group established as a result of this initiative.
The project aims to bring stakeholders together in an effort to rehabilitate degrade land within the park to manage the replanting of thousands of indigenous tree seedlings. By doing so, there has resulted a significant shifting in the mindset of the local community, regarding conservation issues and the protection of the park, which is also comprises the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra UNESCO World Heritage Site. The programme has resulted in more positive views about the need to sustain and protect the forests from encroachment, not only because the ecosystem has been granted full legal protection by the national government, but also to sustain the valuable ecological services that forests freely provide, which are essential for the daily lives of both wildlife and people. In addition, local people participate in useful training and capacity-building exercises in support of the restoration work, including tree nursery development, improved plantin methodology, planting maintenance, etc., and also they benefit financially through receiving a stipend for programme-related assistance. All of which in addition to helping restore this degraded tract of forest, has already resulted in local communities observing that they are already regaining the natural ecological services, namely a restoration of the local water table and drought resistance, previously lost to forest clearing and monoculture agricultural development.
This report details activities undertaken by the OIC with support from Rainforest Rescue Australia from April 2010 to March 2011. Together with KETAPEL members, 15 hectares of degraded land were planted with 38,015 indigenous seedlings cultivated with the help of local people, in a tree nursery established within the national park replanting site. Furthermore during this period seedling maintenance on 20 hectares of previously planted land was conducted; in addition to monitoring for tree growth progress and the presence of wildlife on the restoration site through transects and the use of camera traps. Awareness raising activities for people living around the project site was also conducted, in order to engage more people in GLNP conservation efforts, with the OIC believing strongly that local communities are key in realising effective, lasting conservation.
Read full report by downloading the OIC GLNP Restoration Performance Report (reduced) in PDF Version.