Working with communities to fight fires in Way Kambas National Park

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forestry, Forests, Mammals, Protected Areas, Rainforest Animals, Rainforests, Rhinos, Sumatran Rhino, Wildlife Article published by Isabel Esterman Way Kambas National Park in southern Sumatra supports populations of Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos, tigers and elephants, along with hundreds of other species.In 1997, forest fires hit 70 percent of the park, killing many animals and hampering regeneration in previously logged areas.Local authorities and conservation groups are now working with residents to prevent and fight fires, with notable success. Conservationists in Indonesia’s Sumatra Island are working with local residents to combat forest fires, aiming to transform communities near Way Kambas National Park into forest protectors, rather than threats to the ecosystem.Way Kambas National Park — 1,300 square kilometers (500 square miles) of swamp and lowland forest near Sumatra’s southern tip — is home to one of the last remaining populations of Sumatran Rhinos, one of the world’s rarest and most endangered mammal species. The park also supports populations of Critically Endangered Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) and tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae), Endangered false gharial crocodiles (Tomistoma schlegelii) and hundreds of varieties of birds.This extraordinary ecosystem was extensively logged in the 1950s and 1960s. Although it was designated a national park in 1989 and became part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, Way Kambas is still threatened by habitat degradation — particularly due to fire.“Forest fires kill wildlife and hamper forest regeneration,” said Marcellus Adi, director of the Alliance of Integrated Forest Conservation (ALeRT). “For example, in 1997 almost 70 percent of Way Kambas National Park burned.”Sunset over a swamp forest in Way Kambas National Park. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Fighting firesDuring the 1980s — in the interim period between Way Kambas being zoned as a timber concession and its formal designation as a national park — human settlements were established on around 125 hectares (0.5 square miles) of forest land. People also entered the forest for timber and hunting and cleared land for planting coffee or chocolate.“Many burned the forest to find prey. Almost 50 percent of the area is alang-alang grass (imperata). It becomes fuel for fire during the dry season,” said Adi.Now, conservationists work with the community to keep fires from reaching the park.Initially, local people accompanied ALeRT to map locations of frequent burning. From the resulting map, the team identified four key areas of vulnerability: Mataram Bungur, Bambangan, Sandat and Susukan Baru. Reforestation camps were set up to maintain these areas, relying on community members to provide around-the-clock protection.“They want to take shifts guarding the camp, because they are farmers who most visit their fields every day. They are willing to stay in the camp for up to three days, in shifts. Of course there is an incentive (payment), that’s natural,” explained Adi.In addition to staffing the camp, local people are also involved in planting “pioneer plants” (hardy species well adapted to colonizing damaged eco-systems) and fire-resistant plants, as well as fodder for elephants and rhinos.Sumatran elephants, pictured here in nearby Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.“When plants grow, animals like birds and civets will come and help with pollination,” said Adi. “Feed crops are selected because the population of large mammals is greater in Way Kambas than in other national parks.”Fire-resistant and pioneer crops are planted in a checkerboard pattern, in hopes that doing so will create a living firebreak that protects uncultivated areas. The idea is that these squares of fire-resistant plantings will keep a fire contained if one does break out.Planting is followed by maintenance and efforts to reduce the growth of highly flammable alang-alang grass. Community members can also train to work as guards or fire control officers.The efforts of the ALeRT team, surrounding communities and park authorities have so far proved successful in controlling fires.In the Mataram Bungur area, for example, 100 hectares were reforested in 2010. A fire hit in 2012, but the plantings successfully limited the damage and vegetation was able to regrow quickly, Adi said. By 2015, thanks to the maintenance of firebreaks and intensive firefighting efforts, threatened fires were quickly extinguished.In the Bambangan and Sandat reforestation areas, each of which saw 50 hectares replanted in 2010, fires have not been spotted since — even in 2015, which was Indonesia’s worst fire season on record. Efforts at Susukan Baru, where illegal encroachment continues, have been less successful, with small fires reported each year.A baby Sumatran rhino at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, located within Way Kambas National Park. Photo by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Future plansIn addition to planting, the teams have also constructed reservoirs to serve as water sources during the dry season and in case of forest fires. “Ideally, we would have wells with solar powered pumps. We need sponsors. These could also be a place for animals to drink,” Adi said.Samedi, program director of the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (Yayasan Kehati), said reforestation efforts should be paired with other activities to promote sustainability. He proposes ecotourism as one way to ensure the long-term future of the reforestation program, since donor funds are not always available.Yuyun Kurniawan, program coordinator for WWF’s Ujung Kulon project said other options to explore include leveraging the potential of carbon sales as a result of reforestation of national parks.This story was reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and was first published on our Indonesian site on July 17, 2017.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img

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