September 30, 2016
Community engagement and buy-in are essential in ecosystem restoration work. Working toward a landscape-level restoration effort, the Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) team met with village representatives in Pulau Padang on September 22, 2016 to familiarize the restoration program.
Launched by APRIL in 2013, the Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) program work to protect and restore 150,000 hectare of ecologically important peat forest in Kampar Peninsula and Pulau Padang, Riau on a landscape-level.
Local government representatives and law enforcement officials were also present in the discussion that was attended by 72 people including representatives from Mengkirau, Mengkopot, Tanjung Pisang, Selat Akar, Bandul, Kudap, Dedap, Mekar Delima villages.
In the meeting, Hartjahjo Hariawan, estate manager of RER Pulau Padang underlined the importance of a collaborative effort in restoring degraded peat land in the island. The total area of RER site in Pulau Padang is 20,450 hectares of previously degraded forest.
In response, Abdul Hamid, head of Tasik Putri Puyu sub-district said the local government as well as the communities are in agreement to restore peatland in Pulau Padang. “We appreciate what RER has done in restoring the peatland ecosystem in Pulau Padang through RER. We also request for the company and the government to prevent land and forest fire in Meranti islands area,” he said.
While scores of communities members asked about the possibility to be hired as company employees, villagers from Selat Akar, Kudap and Bandul are interested to participate in the agroforestry farming model and hope for RER team to immediately rollout the program.
Hartjahjo added that ecosystem restoration program is long-term in nature and it will take some time for the work to bear fruit.
“Soon the agriculture program at Selat Akar, Kudap and Bandul will start. We’ll discuss more with the participants on the details of this program,” he said.