The management of Wehea-Kelay Landscape in East Kalimantan still has many potentials left unexplored. “Aside from endemic wildlife conservation, there are still economic values that have not been analyzed,” said E.A. Rafiddin Rizal, Head of Wehea-Kelay Essential Ecosystem Area Forum, in his opening speech of the Endangered Flora and Fauna Management in Wehea-Kelay Landscape workshop in Samarinda, on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. Wehea-Kelay Essential Ecosystem Area Forum held these two-day workshops to increase the capacity of forum members.
Wehea-Kelay Landscape is one of the important habitats for flora and fauna in Kalimantan Island. This area covers 2% of the forest area in Kalimantan and the habitat for at least 35% of mammals recorded in Kalimantan, 41% terrestrial birds, 20% reptiles, and 46% amphibians. One of the main foci in Wehea-Kelay Essential Ecosystem Area management is the Kalimantan orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus morio).
EA Rafiddin Rizal, who is also the Head of East Kalimantan Environmental Office, said that economic values based on ecology could lead to sustainable management of Wehea-Kelay Landscape. The 532-thousand-hectares landscape is managed collaboratively by Wehea-Kelay Essential Ecosystem Area Forum. The forum members represented forest management concession holders, oil palm plantation owners, adat (indigenous) community, government, and development partners. Rafiddin mentioned that the efforts in protecting forest coverages could result in incomes with emission value based on the carbon financing scheme. He explained that potential identification from this landscape that would be studied in these two-day workshops is necessary to look for those various economic opportunities.
To date, Essential Ecosystem Forum members have possessed basic knowledge in biodiversity management in their respective work sites. This capability was manifested in several Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) owned by each concession, both for forest concession and oil palm concession. Arif Rifqi, Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) Endangered Species Conservation Specialist, stated that the forum members’ capability in identifying biodiversity in their respective work sites would support the corporation operations because that capability is required in the certification process of sustainable management, such as ISPO/RSPO for oil palm plantation or PHPL/FSC for forest concession permit holders. Certifications like FSC identified biodiversity as rare and threatened. Meanwhile, in the management of High Conservation Value Area (HCVA), an area with biodiversity is categorized as High Conservation Value (HCV) 1. Therefore, management that aligns with other conservation practices is critical to be applied synergically, effectively, and efficiently. “However, determining whether the SOP owned by the respective corporation was already appropriate for the certification requirement or was it could be effectively implemented on the site requires more updated knowledge,” said Arif. Sustainable management certification regulations keep developing every year; therefore, it is necessary for new information education and capability training for the forum members, especially regarding endangered plant and wildlife status.
Bina Swasta Sitepu from Samboja Environmental and Forestry Instrument Standard Application Agency said that setting the endangered status could not be done carelessly. “Some of the criteria [of an endangered status] is a small population, a significant decrease of the population, and if the said species was only found in the location concerned,” said Bina during the event. He explained that the latest status of endemic trees in Kalimantan were as many as 1443 types. However, this quantity could still grow when a new type of tree is found or a division of an existing tree type. This kind of knowledge benefits members of the Wehea-Kelay Essential Ecosystem Area forum. Based on the notes from the Environmental and Forestry Instrument Standard Application Agency stated there are three types of plants that require close attention: Dipterocarpaceae (Shorea trees): 15 CR, 12 EN, 14 VU, 12 NT; Agathis borneensis (Agathis) EN; Eusideroxylon zwageri (ironwood): VU.
For wildlife, the icon of Wehea-Kelay Landscape is the orangutan. Aside from orangutan, several other endemic wildlife also lives and reproduce in this landscape. Tri Atmoko from Samboja Environmental and Forestry Instrument Standard Application Agency stated that periodic monitoring is necessary to observe the population and density of endemic wildlife. “This monitoring needs to be adjusted to the characteristic of the respective wildlife,” said Tri at this event. For instance, nocturnal wildlife needs to be monitored at night. This periodic monitoring is required to see changes in the population and density data, which is a part of updated biodiversity data in Wehea-Kelay.
Rafiddin hoped that the forum members would acquire skills in best management practices that would be the main steps to protect the sustainability of endangered plants and wildlife species.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.