Conservation of Key Forests in the Sangihe-Talaud Islands

Initiative

Summary

This project is consistent with the GEF Forest Ecosystem operational program (OP#3), it responds to priorities in key Indonesian conservation strategies, namely The National Conservation Plan for Indonesia, the Biodiversity Action Plan for Indonesia as well as two of the primary objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity: conservation and sustainable use. With respect to Sangihe and Karakelang, and on a small-scale, this project will apply emerging principles of the ecosystem approach, adopted by the CBD. Because Sangihe is a cultural landscape with no existing protected area, and threats derive locally, we propose an integrated landscape approach. On Talaud there is already a protected area and threats derive from higher level policy we propose a more traditional protected area management approach.

For Sangihe, the project will seek to strengthen protection, and increase local-level support for an area of protection forest because of its ecosystem services,as an alternative strategy to the establishment of a conventional nature reserve or sanctuary. The success of such an approach would be of immense relevance to other areas of biodiversity importance in Indonesia, which are currently classified as watershed protection forest and at present lie outside the country’s protected area network. For Karakelang, Talaud, the project has already achieved a change in status of an existing reserve and will build on this to strengthen protection and support government agencies in their management work. A Public Awareness Programme will be implemented linking the two sites and addressing the social and cultural context in which their management is embedded. The conservation education campaign will employ social marketing techniques to build awareness and pride in the islands’ unique biodiversity, as well as the importance of forest resources. It will adapt the RARE approach to conservation which has been successful on other small tropical islands outside Indonesia and build upon people’s strong sense of island identity.

This campaign aims to significantly increase levels of public and government support for conservation activities and future initiatives on Sangihe and Karakelang. This project will work in close collaboration with the Regency authorities and local parliament. The local bupati has already shown strong commitment and support for conservation efforts and support from the kabupaten government will be crucial to achieving the project’s objectives, especially on Sangihe. As the process of decentralization in Indonesia unfolds, this project will have much wider relevance as a model in demonstrating the workability of conservation initiatives and responsibilities at local government level.The project proposal was endorsed by the GEF CEO in July, 2001. Birdlife is the executing agency for this project. Implementation has progressed with several issues being worked out, such as project staff recruitment, park boundaries and local pressure for opening up forest area for cultivation. Birdlife has submitted revised work plan that followed recommendation from the Bank. Overall, implementation is rated satisfactory. Project is expected to be closed in October 2005.

The Talaud-Sangihe group of islands is one of 24 Endemic Bird Areas identified in Indonesia (of 220 EBAs identified worldwide). Although covering an area of just 1,700 km2, at present these islands are known to support ten endemic bird species, four endemic mammal species, two endemic butterfly species, and many endemic plant species. Karakelang not only supports one of the last ‘pristine’ lowland forests in North Sulawesi, but also has some of the most remarkable vegetation found on ultrabasic soils in South-east Asia.

 The tiny remaining area of natural forest on Sangihe, home to several rare and endemic species, is vulnerable to clearance for shifting cultivation and small-scale logging. The area’s status as protection forests, increasing local appreciation for the forest’s role in watershed protection and strong local government support   provide a strong rationale for a project intervention. Whilst the remaining forests on Karakelang Island, Talaud, are much more extensive, they were until recently designated only as hunting reserve with  increasing  pressures for land-use change and commercial logging. A recent change in status to wildlife reserve provides the basis for further support to secure and strengthen protection and management of this important conservation area.

 There is some limited public awareness of biodiversity values in Sangihe-Talaud. The project will build on previous local initiatives and strengthen local capacity, including a local NGO, to better engage  public and local government support on the islands for forest and biodiversity conservation.  

 

Stakeholder engagement and participation

Community-based initiatives will be undertaken in support of the strategy. Key elements of the  strategy  will be implemented by the project. Forest protection groups will  be established, with the authorization of the Bupati. Sustainable livelihood initiatives with clear links to forest conservation objectives will have been facilitated by the project (with implementation and funding by other agencies). Pilot schemes will be established to plant selected tree species in agricultural land around the Sahendaruman forest, to increase the areas’ biodiversity value and as a long-term source of timber for local communities. 

 

Forest Management

Baselines will be put in place for monitoring changes in forest cover on Mt. Sahendaruman and Karakelang Wildlife Sanctuary. Specifically there will be a detailed map of forest on Mt. Sahendaruman showing clearings and any changes during the project, a report on changes in forest cover, and an interpreted satellite image of Karakelang Wildlife Sanctuary. Baseline and repeat surveys  will be undertaken  for monitoring populations of selected endangered and/or endemic biodiversity on Sangihe and Karakelang. Management requirements for key species will have been identified. There will be a much better understanding of the importance of Karakelang for selected wildlife groups (plants, herps).