November 28, 2019
Nyoman Iswarayoga, Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) Director of External Affairs, was recently invited to share his views as part of a panel on Circular Economy & SDG 15: Restorative models for landscapes and biodiversity during the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development in Singapore on November 18 to 19, 2019.
This year’s forum carried the theme of ‘Circularity 2030: Towards zero waste, next generation leaders, circular economy jobs of the future’.
Nyoman highlighted RER’s forest restoration work which is being done through a landscape approach that aims to achieve balance between multiple and sometimes conflicting objectives through the acknowledgement of all the stakeholders in the landscape, including the local community.
The RER landscape is a heterogeneous one which is ringed by APRIL Group’s plantation area (surrounded by more than 17,000 people) and government-managed conservation forests. It is also the habitat of hundreds of native plants and wildlife.
In order to succeed in restoring more than 130,000 ha of forest in Kampar Peninsula and 20,000 ha in Pulau Padang in the province of Riau, Sumatra, RER adopts a landscape approach that includes all these aspects.
“Protection and conservation needs to be a part of the business via the integrated production-protection landscape approach,” said Nyoman.
Besides acting as the first layer of protection, the production ring around RER also generates the funds required for RER’s restoration activities.
There are four aspects to these restoration activities: protecting, assessing, restoring and managing.
Although they seem sequential, in practice, they tend to occur simultaneously, Nyoman said.
For the restoration to be successful, the landscape must firstly be protected from the risk of new disturbances which may cause forest degradation.
Then, an assessment of the ecosystem and social environment is conducted. This then informs the next stage of restoration which involves forest regeneration, canal blocking or wildlife conservation. The final stage is a continuous process of helping the surrounding community to earn livelihoods by using the landscape sustainably.
Nyoman highlighted the communities within RER as an important aspect of the program.
“We work with the surrounding communities who are dependent on the forest by informing them about the things that can be done, as well as the things they should avoid because they pose risks to the forest,” he said.
RER has noted an incremental number of biodiversity species in its list since the start of biodiversity monitoring efforts in 2015, he added.
As of 2018, RER has recorded a total of 759 plant and animal species in its concessions.
Meanwhile, simultaneous efforts to protect and restore the RER landscape have led to the concessions being fire free since 2015.