Environmental ministry funds forest conservation projects in Indonesia

The bird Red-Knobbed Hornbill

The Red-Knobbed Hornbill is an endemic species in Sulawasi. Picture: Barend van Gemerden/BirdLife Netherlands

Around 10 per cent of the world's remaining tropical forests are found in Indonesia. At the same time, the country has one of the highest rates of deforestation. For this reason, the German Federal Environment Ministry is supporting two comprehensive projects through the KfW Development Bank for the conservation of these forests with approximately eight million euros from the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

The first project is being implemented in the rainforest of Bukit Tigapuluh on the island of Sumatra. The area is a refuge for many endangered animals, including tigers, elephants, orangutans and tapirs. Only one third of the forest area is designated as a national park; the rest has no protection status although it is home to more tigers, orangutans and elephants than the national park itself. The project, which is being implemented by the Frankfurt Zoological Society and WWF Deutschland, aims to create a buffer around the national park.

The second project is on the island Sulawesi, also home to endangered animal and plant species. This island is the only place where the babirusa, a primitive pig-deer, and the anoa, a small water buffalo in danger of extinction, can be found. The project aims to develop and implement sustainable land-use methods together with the local communities. The project area connects two protected areas and six protected forests in the north of the island, thereby linking forest areas covering a total of 257,000 hectares. The project is being implemented by the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) in Germany and the Indonesian nature conservation organisation, Burung Indonesia.

Both projects are making use of the innovative instrument 'nature conservation concessions' in carrying out their work. These concessions to restore ecosystems are awarded by the Indonesian Government with a term of up to 95 years. The project is working together with the local population to develop sustainable methods for using the forest areas in order to preserve their regeneration capacity.