Climate change is also a reality felt in Sulu-Sulawesi. Rising sea levels, increased ocean temperature, ocean acidification and coral bleaching attributed to climate change are affecting not only the region’s fragile ecosystems and species, but also the communities that rely on fishing and tourism for their livelihoods.
CI Indonesia continues to conserve priority species in an ongoing effort to encourage greater protection for their habitat and the surrounding ecosystems. Efforts include using camera traps to monitor and photograph the Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas) and Sumatran tiger (Panthera pardus sumatrae), and a continued awareness campaign to encourage community engagement with the villages inside the boundary of Gede-Panangro National Park where both species can be found.
Local education has also improved the situation for the Javan gibbon (Hylobates moloch), through the Javan Gibbon Center’s Recovery and Rehabilitation Program. CI’s comprehensive community awareness and education programs have persuaded many local people who were keeping gibbons as pets to voluntarily surrender the primates to the center for rehabilitation. The center is currently working to match the gibbons with a mating pair before releasing them back into the wild.
LEARN MORE: Last Stand for Java's Gibbons
CI has also engaged locals in the process of protecting the orangutan and green turtle, two other key endangered species in Indonesia. Local ideas and customs provide additional ideas for conservation methods, and community patrols ensure that these methods are carried out.
A weekly educational radio program, conducted by CI in Jakarta, called "Green Radio" was designed to raise environmental issues and generate discussions of possible solutions with local listeners. The program has so far featured 20 interviews with environmental experts from a variety of organizations and institutions, including Birdlife Indonesia, The Nature Conservancy, the Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Environment, Miss Earth Organization, and others.
A key focus of the show is the Gede-Pangrango National Park tree adoption program, which encourages listeners to “adopt” one or more trees in the park by making a small donation. By August of 2008, the Green Radio program and CI Indonesia had successfully encouraged listeners to adopt 5 hectares (more than 12 acres) worth of trees.
ACT: Protect an acre of forest.
Monitoring and Distributing Information
In addition to providing conservation education at the local level, CI has created several databases of information, including a database of the endangered species in Indonesia. Compiled from research reports, journals and targeted consultations with experts, the information will help CI Indonesia determine the location of important biodiversity areas.
In a major new undertaking, CI recently partnered with NASA, the University of Maryland, and several other NGOs to create a forest cover monitoring program which also provides forest fire detection in several regions around the world including Sumatra, Indonesia. This email-based alert system enables users to regularly monitor forest cover in several national parks and reserves.
IN DEPTH: Science in Action: Putting Out Fires
The CI Indonesia marine monitoring team has also completed a baseline survey of coral reefs, resulting in a broad picture of coral conditions over a wide area. The data was obtained using the manta-tow survey method, where a snorkeler is towed behind a boat to observe and record the diversity of species below. In addition, the marine monitoring team supported several other research trips, including a survey on fish abundance and one on marine ecology.
Religion: A Factor in Environmental Attitudes and Behavior Change
Involving faith organizations and leadership in conservation issues can help bridge connections between projects and possible conservation successes. CI is encouraging several religious leaders to engage in the current conservation and awareness practices, in the hope that this will generate more participation in protecting Indonesia’s nature.
When CI-Indonesia started to work with conservation efforts in Aceh after the tsunami disaster, they took care to evaluate the possible Islamic approaches, knowing that many people in Aceh greatly value the teachings and lifestyle offered by Islam. Addressing these issues, CI has been successful in implementing the Timber for Aceh Program (TFA) in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature, Indonesia.
CI in Indonesia has also held events with religious leaders representing Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism and Islam, all gathered to present their statements and concerns regarding global climate change and the resulting actions.
IN DEPTH: View a map of CI-Indonesia project areas.