Global landscapes are changing rapidly and conservation is evolving to stay afloat. Change-makers in conservation science are now talking “inclusion” – as the human-centric tool of new-conservation – to slow down rapid loss of whole ecosystems and landscapes, in the urgent battle to save our natural and cultural heritage. IDEP Foundation has practiced ‘inclusive conservation’ now for decades.
Protecting Nature by “helping people to help themselves” – IDEP holistically helps communities to take care of basic human needs: sustainable food, water, safe housing and secure livelihoods, with less pressure on surrounding habitats and resources – this is ‘inclusive conservation’ and Indonesia’s small islands communities are embracing the organisation’s sustainability programs.
Inclusive conservation opportunities provide alternative income, while preserving or restoring natural ecosystems – and IDEP’s permaculture and microenterprise training is leading the way with programs from North Sulawesi to Lombok supported by Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF), the Prince Bernhard Conservation Trust, Boeing, Give2Asia and other valued donors.
“Porodisa (paradise) has turned into a toxic island”
On Karekelang, in the Talaud islands group, north of Manado in the Celebes Sea – within the Wallacea ecozone and Coral Triangle marine sanctuary – coconut plantations have produced product for domestic and export sales over decades, but critical overuse of insecticides aerial-sprayed and injected to combat invasion by crop pest Sexava Coconut treehopper, has destroyed island ecosystems. [Sexava has been mutating and adapting itself ever since the chemical pesticides widely used within the island, in the present, Sexava grows larger than it supposed to be (even larger than Tarsius). Predators mostly avoid coconut trees that been injected with chemicals, and nowadays mutated gigantic Sexava cause difficulties for predator to catch them].
Local communities refuse to eat their own coconut products, so are burdened for alternative food and income.
“Porodisa (paradise) has turned into a toxic island that is killing much of its endemics, especially the mascot of the island, sampiri”, lamented a coordinator from community-partner group KOMPAK.
Exploitation of chemical pesticides usage cause a huge destruction to inland coconut plantation.
One of Indonesia’s main endangered parrot species is endemic to Karekelang island, the Red-and-blue Lory (Eos histrio), known locally as ‘sampiri’. Similar to a lorikeet, this parrot is also a victim to insecticide poisoning of food sources and, in addition, highly favoured by poachers hunting for this colourful bird for sale to illegal wildlife traders.
IDEP has collaborated with community group KOMPAK to engage with three villages (Bengel Village, South Rae Village, and Ambela Village), introducing sustainable agriculture and livelihood production, to encourage environmental protection by providing resource, knowledge and support in permaculture training [specifically on producing organic compost and ensure the practice of integrated pest management within their farmland].
Locals are learning permaculture gardening to enhance nutrition from organic food, earn alternative incomes free from chemicals and pesticides, while reducing toxins in the island’s ecosystems.
“Learning about permaculture, help me understand the importance of preserving the nature itself. So the nature will be kind and give us more in returns.” – Syane Bulanbae.
A community treasure, the “panda bear” of avitourism on Lombok
On the slopes of Mount Rinjani – a semi-active volcano on Lombok island, east of Bali, a little-known Critically Endangered raptor species, the Flores hawk-eagle has become a community treasure, the “panda bear” – or flagship species, of avitourism on Lombok. At least, that is the plan.
Flores Hawk-eagle (Nisaetus floris), a raptor or bird of prey, is endemic to several islands in the Nusa Tenggara region of Indonesia – including a small population in the lowland forests of Mountain Rinjani National Park, an area now heavily degraded by logging and commercial agriculture in national park buffer zones. Known as an ‘indicator’ or ‘umbrella’ species, the raptors are ‘sentinels’ or ‘ecological barometers’ for the state of forest ecosystems.
Raptors rely on intact forest to support nests and food sources – an abundant supply of small species, such as snakes, lizards and squirrels. On Mount Rinjani, only twenty pairs of Flores Hawk-eagle are known to remain, according to recent studies – locals report past sightings, poaching for wildlife trade and even hunting the raptor to protect household chickens.
Strong global interest in Indonesia’s native birds has seen a rise in regional avitourism – so IDEP designed an inclusive-conservation intervention program for communities in North Lombok, to restore degraded environment and protect the raptor species, Flores Hawk-eagle – now seen locally as a “community treasure”.
Still in the early stages of implementation, IDEP Media produced a documentary film, in early 2016, to educate the locals on the conservation status of the Critically Endangered (CR) Flores hawk-eagle’s value to the environment, need for protection and potential for sustainable livelihoods in avitourism – as an alternative to unemployment or low-income futures.
IDEP’s ‘Critically-endangered to Community Treasure’ program has, to-date, introduced conservation education, reforestation activities, introduction to microenterprise training – and now completed construction of a public bird-watching tower with species awareness signage inside Mt Rinjani National Park entrance, at Senaru – a platform where Flores hawk-eagle may be observed soaring above the forest.
Funding sponsorship is now being sought for school education campaigns, training locals in bird-guiding and enterprise skills – as low-impact, community-based “avitourism-preneurs” – with particular emphasis for inclusion of the region’s sasak, or indigenous groups who, under local adat law, are the traditional land owners and protectors of the mountain’s forest slopes, birds, and sacred waters [recently IDEP working with four villages; Senaru Village, Bayan Village, Loloan Village, and Sambik Elen Village; and to sustaining the development of the program is really important until these communities grasp the main idea of preserving their own habitat].
Indonesia’s archipelago of islands is a treasure of biodiversity with abundance of globally important species and habitats, but rapid economic growth and urbanization threatens many ecosystems with unprecedented pressures.
Success of IDEP Foundation’s new conservation programs will equal biodiversity richness, and a healthier habitat to preserve wildlife, water, climate, forest – and people!.
CEPF: The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.¹ See: www.cepf.net.