The 700,000-hectare Kampar Peninsula in Sumatra, Indonesia, is one of the largest peat deposits in the tropics. In the Kampar Peninsula, illegal logging, plantation development, migrant settlement, land clearing, and poorly constructed drainage canals in the periphery of the peninsula are slowly degrading the peatland ecosystem, even in the relatively well-protected central area. Significantly, degrading peatlands are one of the major sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world.
Forests of the Kampar peninsula have been in use as timber concessions since the early 1980’s. Recently, a number of companies have concessions for a range of activities, i.e. selective logging in natural forests, industrial timber plantations and land conversion to oil palm plantations.
The peat deposits in the Kampar peninsula store a very large amount of carbon, which will be released into the atmosphere as a result of forest conversion, land subsidence related to drainage and fire related to unsustainable land use activities. The peninsula also has economic, ecological and social functions that should be managed to guarantee the sustainability of the whole landscape and contribute to livelihoods.
A large number of stakeholders and interest groups is active in the area. Each holds different views on the best management of the Kampar peninsula, ranging from conversion for productive purposes to full protection of the area. The legality of the concessions currently present in the area is contested, and different incompatible management models are proposed, ranging from full economic development to full protection and community development.
At the request of PT RAPP the holder of large industrial forest plantation concessions in Kampar, TBI Indonesia and FORDA led a consortium to carry out a High Conservation Value (HCV) assessment for the entire Kampar peninsula landscape. The purpose of this assessment was to provide guidance to RAPP and other stakeholders on the options for the future management of the Peninsula, based on a full consideration of the social and environmental values of the area.
A HCV assessment is an approach for the identification of the six High Conservation Values (HCVs), which cover the range of conservation priorities shared by a wide range of stakeholder groups, and include social and cultural values as well as ecological values. Examples of HCVs are natural habitats with presence of rare or endemic species or habitats, sacred sites, or resources harvested by local people and which are considered to have outstanding significance or critical importance.
The results of the HCV assessment for the Kampar peninsula demonstrate the presence of high conservation values associated with ecological, biodiversity, bio-physical and social cultural criteria in almost the entire Kampar peninsula.
The assessment proposes a zoning of the Peninsula into two different zones with a different purpose. Almost 47 percent of the Kampar peninsula would be suitable for limited production and community development purposes while the remaining 53 percent should be protected and/or rehabilitated as Peat protected area. The landscape to be strictly protected comprises the deep peatland area, while the shallow peatland surrounding it would be available for forest plantations and other social and economic interests.
The researchers recommend collaborative management as the preferred management strategy for the Peninsula. This provides the best way to address the complex issues and different stakeholder interests.
A number of stakeholders in the Peninsula, including PT Riau Putera Perkasa and proposal of the Ministry of Forestry for restoring ex. PT Yos Raya Timber have taken on this idea and support the idea of “the Kampar Initiative”. The Kampar Initiative seeks the support and action of all stakeholders in finding a balance between restoration of the peninsula’s ecological services, protection of habitats, sustainable management of plantations and socio-economic development of local communities.
The Kampar initiative has been presented to the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry (MoF). As a response to the initiative the Ministry decreed on 23 September 2010 a policy for the creation of a Forest Production Unit Model for the entire Kampar Peninsula, recognizing the need for active forest management in the area. It has been decided that collaborative management should be the management principle used by this unit for the development of management plans.