October 3, 2017 - March 31, 2018
Yayasan Hutanriau, Indonesia
The SRM activity, approved in October 2017, strategically responded to the immediate and sustained threat to adat and local communities’ traditional lands and forest, and rich biodiversity posed by the expansion of palm oil in Riau Province on Sumatra within the Bukit Batabuh Forest Reserve. Riau Province is home to over 24 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil plantations and is also the same area that is home to the Sumatran tiger, which is currently listed as critically endangered. In Indonesia, during a period of 15 years (2000-2015) there has been an estimated 55 percent of forest loss within concession areas, and an estimated total loss of more than 6.7 million hectares within and outside of concession areas. This forest-loss has caused adat and local communities to lose their livelihoods and their traditional lands and forests, as well as the wildlife and plant diversity that has been sustained by the primary forests.
The SRM proposed to provide support to the Air Buluh community and the Bukit Betabuh Forest Reserve who have been the custodians of the lush forest—home of the critically endangered tiger—for centuries, to secure their rights to these forests and develop a sustainable community-led forest based enterprise model unique to a protected area. This can set an example of community resistance to government and private sector encroachment on customary land.
RRI support provided the resources for the mapping of the management area with Bukit Betabuh in order to complete the main stage in obtaining the Social Forestry permit from the local administration, while simultaneously developing sustainable crop commodity plans for the jernang that would create an initial border around the community forest land. The proposed activity supported the communities within the Bukit Betabuh Forest Reserve and trained them in the titling processes involved in Social Forestry permits. These activities not only created income-generating activities for the Air Buluh community but allowed them to have rights over their forestlands and help preserve the pristine tiger ecosystem.