Oil Palm, Tripa Swamp of Aceh

Traditionall Illegal Mining on Aceh Forest Land

Firing; A common and cheap method to clear the land

Traditional gold mining in Aceh

A chalenge to feed their family, gaining daily cash, though high risk. They are need to be supervised. Could it be sustain?


Lasantha Bandara

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April 17, 2009

REDD and Aceh Green Commision: Challenges

Since the signing agreement/understanding on carbon trade with some parties, the Aceh Governor, of Indonesia, has become more popular in the world. The agreement bound a partnership with private companies such as Carbon Conservation Ltd (CC) and Merryl Lynch initiating restoring and funding scheme. The CC’s contract focuse in the Ulu Masen Conservation (UMC) region while the Sustainable Forest Management(SFM) ltd. Is applying for an investment right in the Leuser Ecosystem Region.

Something funny in the recent world scheme of carbon trading, more popular called as the Reduction Emission form Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). Though the legal implementation will be conducted after 2012, many financial private company, known as Trans National Corporations (TNCs), claim a particular forest region in some nations as their project location. For example, as shown in their website, the SFM claim the Leuser Ecosystem Region (LER), of Indonesia, as their project area while in fact their proposal is still being processed by the Aceh Investment and Promotion Board. Stating the LER as their project area may block other international parties to participate in.

Domestically, the legal status and mandatory indicators of some potentially forested area of Aceh, for instance, the LER, the UMC, and Tripa swamp, is not clear yet to be incorporated as global REDD scheme as shown in Progress REDD table for some potential REDD or CDM in Aceh, of Indonesia. The REDD Proposal for the Ulu Masen Conservation region have passed audit process by smartwood but the management board is not yet formed. A management board for The Leuser Ecosystem exists but other conditional indicators have not been established. The Tripa swamp has project plan proposal but it has no management board.

It is obvious that the REDD philosophy, its potential for caring Aceh forest and the challenges are not yet socialized among provincial environmental stakeholders. Some prospectors, NGOs and government’s departmental leaders simply saw provincial forest as source of money throughout the recently unclear global REDD scheme. Support the REDD idea with avoidance of other socio-economic function of forest land. Other parties are opposing the REDD regarding local people rights (carbon rights), being afraid for the weakening of their institutional power.

To be work well, the Aceh Government need to synchronies’ national Acts and other policy with provincial legislation. Unfortunately, no one provincial legislation have been enacted. Recently, a Governor’s degree is being processed and parallel with the formulating of the Commission of Aceh Green. In accordance with the Department of Forestry (DoF) of Indonesia’s REDD commission, the Aceh Green Commission should be more perfect and more effective as it will be implemented at more specific area.

Do you have any idea? Please read the DoF’s document and share your opinion.. We will discuss it later for our better global environment.

The Endangered Sumatran Orangutan of Leuser

Have you ever seen an Orangutan…? Where? In a zoo?. Seeing the orangutan in their natural habitat is really amazing. You will be feeling something special when they are trying to continue their live. Sadly, looking for food while most of their natural landscapes have been fragmented.

The Sumatran orangutan is one of endangered species found in Sumatera, of Indonesia. This species naturally live in The Leuser Ecosystem Region (LER). This conservation biosphere is the largest conservation area in Indonesia and representing a complex natural landscape. The region officially covers 1,790,000 hectares of land but other popular references often cited larger, varying from 2.2 to 2.6 million hectares. This region encompasses the Indian Ocean shores almost to the Malacca strait.

Centre of this ecosystem is the Gunung (mount) Leuser National Park (GLNP). The park is located in the districts of Aceh Tenggara, Singkil and Aceh Selatan, of Aceh province, and Langkat district of Sumatera Utara province.
The GLNP has also already been listed as a natural World Heritage Site in 2004.

Some legislations and economic activities policies of this park have been summarized. The legislations did not work properly at local level regarding the needs of local communities and local government’s necessities. This result in habitat degradation of the Sumatera orangutan. Arable land for local socio-economic development of some districts of Aceh is critical as shown in my simple simulated district’s.

In the past, easy to find the orangutan in Ketambe sightseeing and hear the various sound of other birds and mammals. Recently, watching this species freely in their habitat is quite impossible. I was a bit lucky recording them in March 2009 when they were looking for their fruit favorite. How to keep them alive without sadness? Many efforts have been done by some international NGOs such as the Leuser International Foundation, and researchers but nearly a zero result.

Did the NGOs project officers fail on designing their project?