• Mr. Franck Viault (Head of Cooperation), Ms. Marja Daffern (Deputy Head of Finance, Contracts and Audit) and Mr. Giovanni Serritella (Programme Manager for Environment, Climate change and FLEGT-VPA) of the EU Delegation to Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and ASEAN visited the base camp of the Elephant Patrol Unit (EPU), which is managed  and operated by LIF, at Aras Napal on Thursday, 16 April 2015. More

  • Seven of the world's rarest rhinoceroses have been found in a national park in Indonesia. This is the first time the creatures have been seen in 26 years. Deforestation is still pushing the Sumatran toward extinction.

    Hidden cameras buried deep in an Indonesian national park have snapped images of seven critically endangered Sumatran rhinos. The rhinos haven't been seen in more than a quarter of a century and conservationists had feared the Sumatran was extinct. But, six females and one male rhino are now known to live in the Mount Leuser National Park, which is on the northern tip of Sumatra. More

  • The Leuser Management Unit (LMU), while implementing the Leuser Development Programme (funded jointly by the EU and GoI), officially launched the Elephant Patrol Unit (EPU) in Aras Napal on 9 May 2000 and this was the first of its kind in Indonesia. More

  • The Conservation Response Unit (CRU) will mitigate human-elephant conflicts. This Unit has four trained elephants under the supervision of a mahout provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA). The project will support the initial cost for the infrastructure development of the CRU and also support its operational costs until 2016. The elephants will be supported and the local community will participate in monitoring wildlife conflicts and illegal forestry activities. More

  • Dr. Jamal Gawi, MES, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Leuser International Foundation, participated in a discussion on Tigers (Wildlife Protection Series) at @america Pacific Place in Jakarta on Wednesday, 1 October 2014. More


OPINION: Climate change affects Asean biodiversity

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Climate change will add another layer of stress to the many stressors that already endanger biodiversity in the Asean region, one of the most diverse ecosystems comprising 20 per cent of the world’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity.

Western scientific explanations are not sufficient to describe the implications of climate change for Asean biodiversity, as there are wide gaps in geo-ecological and socio-economic contexts between Asean and Western countries.

The issue is timely now that the Asean Conference on Biodiversity is underway in Bangkok on February 15-19, 2016.

Paris Climate Conference, COP 21 in Paris at the end of 2015 resulted in promising commitments from most countries involved in the negotiations, one of which is the commitment to try to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or better yet, 1.5 °Celsius. However, the threat of global warming is already prominent, and changes have already taken place in all aspects of life on earth.

These changes, mostly negative, affect humans and nature alike. Health issues, food security, seashore changes and socio-economic implications have been well recorded and reported by many scientific publications and popular media.

The publication, like it or not, has triggered worries and fears among many people but at the same time also forced human beings to actively think of strategies to cope with these clear and present dangers.

On the nature front, backed up by scientific information, some experts have shown that different plant and animal species will respond to climate change in different ways and on different time scales, and at the ecosystem level, those combined responses are unlikely to be linear.
First, there are range shifts. A warmer climate will lead to changes in the distribution of plant and animal species (Parmesan, 2006). These changes can be movements of certain species into areas where they were not previously found, the disappearance of species from regions where they once were, or a shift in the abundance and location of individuals within a species range.

Most range shifts will see species move toward cooler climates and will take two forms:  the move of species across the earth’s latitudes toward the poles and the move of species toward higher places.

Second, there are phenological shifts. These are changes in occurrence of specific events in the lifecycle of species. Changes in specific temperatures or precipitation will affect breeding, reproduction and other behavioral traits in many plant and animal species.

Inability to cope with the above two climate change-driven events may lead to species extinction.

As in many other regions, climate change will add another layer of stress to the many stressors that already endanger biodiversity in the Asean region, one of the most diverse ecosystems comprising 20 per cent of the world’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity.

Unfortunately, the implications of climate change for Asean biodiversity are rarely studied. There is a serious lack of information, which has proven unable to tackle with the current institutional setups either at the member state level, the level of intergovernmental bodies like the Asean secretariat or at the level of research institutions within Asean member states.

Picture above shows a hypothetical model based on climate change theories and research conducted elsewhere.
Asean countries located in mainland Asia (A) will experience a shift of species distribution toward the poles, especially of highly mobile species, with possible similar or less pronounced upward movement. In oceanic-locked countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam and Borneo part of Malaysia to a certain extent (B), species will move upward with limited poleward movement.

How to respond?

The poleward and upward movements of biodiversity in Asean will have very serious implications for future biodiversity conservation, especially for the management of current and future protected areas.

Given the above trends, land managers and policymakers in Asean countries are faced with a complex set of decisions. They can accept the changes as a natural process and accept extinction and the possibility of major shifts of biota while maintaining a focus on mitigating the impacts of conventional stressors, such as illegal logging, wildlife trade and unsustainable development in the surrounding ecosystem, habitat fragmentation, invasive species and forest fires.
Alternatively, they can also opt to actively manage the protected areas and the surrounding ecosystem by considering, although unpredictable, the best possible pathways for species movement. Some options include developing corridors, establishing transboundary protected areas, and/or enlarging the boundaries of protected areas to include lowland and upland areas.

All of those options will need tough but creative negotiations with other competing land uses and stakeholders, especially the private sector and local communities.

In the context of Asean, it is not only plant and animal species that move, but people too. There are plenty of examples that due to warmer climate, rural communities are moving to higher ground to make their commercial crops more productive.

A famous case is that of coffee farmers in Central Aceh. Due to a warmer climate and consequently more pest outbreaks, farmers are moving toward higher places far beyond 1,000 meters above sea level to continue cultivating their famous, world-class Arabica coffee. Unfortunately, in doing so, the farmers have to enter protected areas and clear the land for their crops.

A lack of information about climate change that leads to wrong decisions by local governments coincident with a lack of action and ignorance by the central governments of some Asean countries further sacrificed biodiversity in many protected areas.

At the regional level, the Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) as the formal Asean institution tasked with supporting biodiversity conservation, backed up by the Asean Secretariat, should move beyond merely implementing donor-sponsored projects to become an institution with a clear vision to protect Asean’s biodiversity, for example by dictating a biodiversity agenda that is tailor-made for the Asean region and at the same time responds to the interests of the majority of the Asean people.

This future role for the ACB and the Asean Secretariat seems to be compromised due to the lack of expertise and a limited internal source of funding. Without these resources, it will be difficult to expect the ACB to dictate any future research and initiate capacity building of park managers that will link climate change with biodiversity conservation in Asean.

(The writer is a biodiversity conservation and governance specialist with a PhD in environmental studies from the University of Indonesia.)

Link : http://www.asianews.network/content/opinion-climate-change-affects-asean-biodiversity-9585


What steps are being taken by the LIF to promote the conservation of Leuser?
How will the people of Aceh and North Sumatra directly benefit from the conservation of the Leuser Ecosystem ?
What actions were taken by LIF relating to the earthquake and tsunami disaster in NAD and North Sumatra?

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