GEF - Biodiversity Conservation in Sumatra (TIGER)

Sumatra is the sixth largest island in the world, characterized by the Bukit Barisan mountain range and globally significant tropical montane, sub montane, lowland, fresh water and peat swamp forests as well as mangroves and rivers. The island’s fauna includes 201 mammal and 580 bird species, with endemic and critically endangered species such as the Sumatran orangutan and Sumatran rhinoceros, and subspecies such as the Sumatran elephant. The Sumatran tiger Panthera tigris sumatrae is Indonesia’s last remaining tiger subspecies with an estimated population of 400-500 adults. Its conservation areas include 13 Important Bird Areas, two Ramsar sites (Berbak and Sembilang National Parks) and the UNESCO WHC Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra sites (the National Parks of Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barisan Selatan). The current project will cover all five of these globally significant sites and surrounding landscapes. Across Sumatra, the principal threat to biodiversity is habitat loss and forest degradation, with forest cover shrinking from 25.3m hectares in 1985 to 12.8m hectares in 2009, with clearance driven by commercial oil palm and timber fibre plantations, followed by subsistence agriculture, while the main driver of forest degradation has been commercial logging. In addition, the wildlife trade is a significant pressure on species, with an estimated fifty Sumatran tigers poached annually between 1998 and 2002. The main barriers to achieving this vision are weak natural resource governance and limited protected area management capacity, poor inter-agency coordination for wildlife and forest conservation outside of the PAs, and inadequate financial planning and management for protected areas. The long-term solution offered by the project for securing Sumatra’s forests, wildlife and ecosystem services lies in consolidating a network of effectively managed and adequately funded protected areas (PAs) that are supported by complementary actions in the adjacent forests and with multiple stakeholders to achieve sustainably managed landscapes. This will require both multi-agency partnerships across multiple provinces and sufficient incentives for communities to reduce forest encroachment and illegal hunting of protected species. The objective of the project is to enhance biodiversity conservation in priority landscapes in Sumatra through adoption of good management practices in protected areas and adjacent production landscapes, using tiger recovery as a key indicator of success. This will be accomplished through supporting implementation of the National Tiger Recovery Plan, which sets out the key elements to protect forests and wildlife in Sumatra. The project aims to address a range of institutional, governance and financial issues that prevent the project objective from being achieved. In doing so, it will create a model biodiversity management system that is operational across the target landscapes, can be scaled-up across Sumatra, and strengthen the national PA system. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry will lead project implementation in partnership with UNDP and NGOs.