Protecting the ‘wild and difficult’ forests of Sumatra

The sea of green on the Kampar Peninsula is one of last large intact lowland peatland forests of Sumatra. Five years ago, Restorasi Ekosistem Riau was established to ensure the biodiversity and the livelihoods it supports are protected and restored.

The flat-headed cat, no larger than the domestic housecat, is one of the most endangered and elusive species of cats native to Sumatra. But the shy feline was caught on film by camera traps within the forests of the Kampar Peninsula half a dozen times.

Identifying and protecting wildlife, as well as the forest’s unique fauna, is one of the main highlights of Brad Sanders’ job as deputy head of conservation at Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER).

Set up by major pulp and paper firm APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings)- five years ago, RER is a programme to protect, restore and manage 150,000 hectares of critical peatland forest situated on the Kampar Peninsula and Padang Island in Sumatra, Indonesia.

In a new short film by Eco-Business, Sanders says: “Even though the forest may be somewhat degraded, it still supports a huge biodiversity of wildlife. There are new discoveries all the time, and without active, protective management of the forest, [such biodiversity] could be lost.”

RER is a part of what APRIL calls its production-protection model, to which the company has committed $100 million in funding for conservation and restoration over 10 years. It is a partnership with Community Resources Development Institute (BIDARA), a social equity consultancy, and non-governmental organisation Fauna & Flora International to monitor the forest’s biodiversity, carbon stocks and restore the forests by protecting sensitive peatland areas.

Watch the video to find out how Sanders and his team are working to safeguard this ecologically important, “wild and difficult place”.

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