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What does it take to save one of Indonesia’s last peatland forests?

The once abundant peat forests of Indonesia’s Kampar peninsula have been deforested to half its size over the last two decades. Is there hope in saving the country’s largest remaining forest reserve? 

Located in Indonesia’s Riau province, the Kampar Peninsula is a vast peatland forest that originally stretched 700,000 hectares along the eastern Sumatran coastline. Over the past two decades, years of selective logging have degraded the Kampar forest area.

In this podcast, Eco-Business spoke to Tony Sebastian, a wildlife ecologist and conservation planner, who currently advises Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER), a forest ecosystem restoration project that aims to protect, restore and manage 150,000 hectares of degraded peatland forest on the Kampar Peninsula and Padang Island, in Sumatra.

RER was founded five years ago by Singapore-based pulp and paper company Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL), and is run in partnership with international conservation organisation Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and Indonesian non-profit organisation BIDARA.

Tune in to find out from Sebastian what it takes to restore a forest in the following questions: 

  • Can felled or burned forest ever go back to the way it was before?
  • What considerations are made when restoring a forest?
  • How long does it take to restore a forest and how much does it cost?
  • How do you see forests being preserved in the future and what will it take?
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