Kerinci-Seblat National Park, Indonesia
Kerinci-Seblat NP (KSNP) is of immense strategic importance for biodiversity conservation in Indonesia. The 1.3 million-hectare area forms part of the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra natural World Heritage site, and is recognized as one of the most important sites for conservation of the Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger.
Beginning in late 2005, a dramatic rise in proposals to construct roads through the NWHS led a group of local and national NGOs to form an alliance—the AKAR Network—to campaign against illegal road activities and other unsustainable activities throughout the protected area. The RRF awarded the AKAR network $30,000 to investigate and document road-building threats in KSNP, and to use this information to coordinate an awareness-raising and lobbying campaign in response to these threats.
Between August 2006 and February 2007, AKAR members succeeded in stalling or defeating more than 20 proposals to build inter-district or inter-provincial highways. The Network also secured a decree from the Minister of Forestry, advising that no roads should be planned or built in protected areas throughout Indonesia. The Network also persuaded two provinces to remove planned cross-national park roads from their long-term plan.
In June 2007, the RRF awarded a one-off grant of US $69,269 to the AKAR Network, to test the model of medium term support to RRF grantees as a follow-up to an emergency grant. The funds were awarded to consolidate the earlier work to tackle illegal road construction, but also to quantify and communicate the extent of threat from illegal encroachment and conversion National Park forest to agriculture at key sites. The work confirmed that new encroachment is occurring at an alarming rate at numerous sites within this protected area, with a range of drivers causing this forest loss.
AKAR Network members continue to use this information to engage with local stakeholders – including supporting the efforts of the National Park Authority to protect the area and working with local communities to raise awareness of the value of the protected area as a source of essential ecosystem services, particularly water supply.
Images © AKAR Network