Although Indonesia only covers approximately 1.3% of the world’s total land mass, it is one of 17 of the world’s most mega diverse  countries, and so conservation projects to protect Indonesia’s forests have attracted the support of many civil society organizations and foreign governments.
In my previous blog, I wrote about the landscape approach to conserving and protecting Indonesia’s natural environment, and how this approach works by joining the minds and hands of suppliers and organizations operating in each landscape. This approach ensures conservation efforts reach beyond each organization’s traditional concession boundaries, with the understanding that working with our neighbors can achieve much more than what individuals can achieve alone.
A first step to implementing the landscape approach on the ground is developing greater knowledge of what conservation activities have already been done and sharing the learning’s between stakeholders. Only once we understand what helps to achieve success can we properly focus our efforts on effectively addressing other issues.
The Belantara Foundation is a non-profit organisation focused on working with its partners to apply a landscape approach to conserving ten critical landscapes in Sumatra and Kalimantan provinces. To realise this, one of the first tasks for us was to understand the landscapes we are working to conserve. This meant clearly defining landscape ‘boundaries’, identifying and learning about ongoing conservation programs within each landscape, and mapping the stakeholders involved and their competing priorities.
We commissioned YAPEKA (Nature Conservation and Education Foundation/ Yayasan Pendidikan dan Konservasi Alam) to develop a landscape Master Plan to investigate this information for us. This project was funded by Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP), whose pulpwood suppliers operate within each of the ten landscapes.
To create this Master Plan, YAPEKA conducted a literature study, an analysis of conservation policies, biodiversity, spatial and social data to gain a full picture of the landscape.Additionally, they coordinated wide-ranging stakeholder consultations at regional levels to coordinate further input into the project.
The Belantara team used YAPEKA’s analysis and research to provide recommendations for strategic and supporting priority programs within each landscape, designed to complement environmental management plans rather than replace already existing ones. The resulting Master Plan was independently peer reviewed and finalized as a draft document for public consultation.
Our broad aim for the Master Plan is for the document to be used as a valuable tool for all stakeholders who want to undertake conservation activities within the landscapes. These activities include programs focusing on the protection, restoration and conservation of species and their natural habitats, the prevention of forest fires, as well as community development and environmental education programs in and around each landscape.
The hard work that has gone into developing our Master Plan will now serve as our guide for how to implement future work on the ground with our partners, putting the landscape approach into action and making a real impact in protecting our forests and the people in them.
By: Dr. Dolly Priatna, Acting Executive Director, Belantara Foundation