Living in Hope: In 2007, Conservationists Celebrated a Ground-Breaking Decision by the Indonesian Government to Grant the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds a Licence to Restore a Vast Logging in Sumatra. but Five Years on, the Project Is Losing the Battle against Outsiders

By Kendall, Clare | Geographical, November 2012 | Go to article overview

Living in Hope: In 2007, Conservationists Celebrated a Ground-Breaking Decision by the Indonesian Government to Grant the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds a Licence to Restore a Vast Logging in Sumatra. but Five Years on, the Project Is Losing the Battle against Outsiders


Kendall, Clare, Geographical


In 2008, I sat in an office at the Bedfordshire headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) looking at a satellite image of a large area of Indonesian jungle as an expert patiently explained to me what the various patches of light and dark green meant. We studied an area outlined in red that seemed to have a noticeably higher percentage of dark-green patches than the surrounding area, especially at its heart.

This, I was told, was one of the best and last patches of dry lowland rainforest in Indonesia. 'What we want,' explained RSPB press officer Grahame Madge, 'is to preserve and restore this area of rainforest until it's all dark green.' I have yet to hear a better description of the primary aim of the Harapan Rainforest project.

The RSPB, I learnt, had been doing considerably more than making appearances on Springwatch. Working with partner organisations, it had patiently and persistently campaigned for three years to change the law in Indonesia, enabling them to acquire the licence to a vast logging concession on Sumatra, Indonesia's largest island, not to log it, but to restore and preserve it.

Sumatra has one of highest rates of deforestation in the world--between 1985 and 2007, nearly half of its natural forests disappeared. Harapan would preserve a part of this ancient ecosystem and give Indonesia something of which to be proud at a time when it ranked third in the world for greenhouse gas emissions, after China and the USA.

It would be the world's largest reserve of its kind (it currently covers 1,000 square kilometres, one fifth of Bumatra's remaining dry lowland forest) and had attracted international notoriety. Sir Nicholas Stern, HRH the Prince of Wales and teams of international scientists had all beaten a path to the semi derelict former logging camp that served as its headquarters, deep in the northern section of the concession.

Fast forward four years and I'm looking at a recent satellite image of the reserve's eastern section--and this time. I'm seeing dark green giving way to pale, This and other images taken last year show illegal encroachment over an area of nine square kilometres that took place over just nine months--that's one square kilometre per month. Estimates for the first part of this year put the rate at 2.5 square kilometres a month.

Despite all of the RSPB's efforts, the legal endorsement of the Indonesian government, the backing of the Sumatran police force, the weight of international approval and even the enthusiastic support of the local indigenous people, the concession is being swallowed by human activity. 'Truth is, we're quite simply losing the battle,' says Madge now.

REASON TO BE CHEERFUL

The word Harapan means 'hope' in Indonesian, and when I visited the project a few months after my initial meeting, I couldn't help but feel that the name was very apt. Illegal logging had been virtually eliminated. Squatters had been moved on or employed. Projects were under way to develop sustainable practices for the indigenous Bathin Sembilan people and to integrate them into the project, planting nurseries and working as rangers. Abandoned logging trucks lay by the roadside, providing homes for nesting birds and there was much excitement as rare species were spotted: rhinoceros hornbills, pig tailed macaques, a pair of Storm's storks. Life was returning to the degraded forest at pace.

Ian Rowland, tropical forest conservation manager at the RSPB, describes what has been happening since. 'Our bird species count is now more than 300, many of which are threatened, and mammal populations are thriving. We have about 550 sun bears and 8,000-10,000 agile gibbons, and we've just confirmed a population of 11-17 elephants.'

A new species of butterfly was recently added to the list and the critically endangered Sumatran tiger population is believed to be between 15 and 20. 'More pertinently,' says Rowland. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Living in Hope: In 2007, Conservationists Celebrated a Ground-Breaking Decision by the Indonesian Government to Grant the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds a Licence to Restore a Vast Logging in Sumatra. but Five Years on, the Project Is Losing the Battle against Outsiders
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.