The 100,000-hectare Harapan Rainforest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra consists of two former logging concessions, making it the first conservation concession in Indonesia. Though bordered in the north and northeast by oil palm plantation, and in other areas by active logging concessions, the site includes large swathes of undamaged lowland forest with a remarkable abundance of species.
The area is a habitat for up to 20 of the Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger, which number only 100 to 300 in the wild. It is also home to more than 260 bird species, and the Critically Endangered Storm’s stork has been reported in the forest. Surveys also show evidence of agile gibbons, Asian elephants, clouded leopard, Malayan tapir and sun bears in the forest, which is part of the Sundaland biodiversity hotspot.
The Global Conservation Fund (GCF) supported Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
, BirdLife International
and Burung Indonesia
in their efforts to develop landmark legislation enabling conservation-oriented concessions, and to purchase the concession for the area. The purchase marks a turning point for Indonesia’s forests, as the government did not previously permit forests allocated for timber production to be conserved or restored.
Now the partnership is finalizing a trust fund that will generate enough annual interest to pay the concession fees and management costs, ensuring the forest’s long-term viability.
The initiative also is providing jobs for about 100 local people as forest wardens and other roles, and will educate residents of nearby communities on sustainable use of forest resources. The program is piloting income-generating activities such as aquaculture and handicraft production for indigenous families living in and around the area.