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Road proposals proving heightened threat to Indonesian national park and tiger habitat

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Terrestrial / Aquatic Ecology & Conservation
Location Indonesia - Asia & M East
Company Name Fauna & Flora International
Contact Name
Telephone 01223 579330
Fax 01223 461481
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Directory Entry : Founded in 1903, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is the world's longest-established international conservation organisation.
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Kerinci Seblat road construction opposition grows as NGO coalition urge government to improve and maintain existing network of roads

Opposition to the proposal from the Government of Jambi Province to construct three new roads through Kerinci Seblat National Park continues to gather momentum, with a highly respected biology and conservation specialist group publicly urging the Government of Indonesia to reject the proposed construction.

The Association for Tropical Biology & Conservation, the world’s largest scientific organisation devoted to the study of tropical biology, has issued a resolution outlining the intensely negative ecological impact of the proposed road routes, which pass through core habitat of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger and would also damage forest watershed functions vital to local communities. Read the statement here.

There has been continued concern over the proposal, which, if approved, would infringe Indonesian law regarding developments within the core zone of national parks. Last week representatives of the Jambi Provincial and Kerinci District Governments presented the proposed evacuation routes to a multi-stakeholder audience at the Department of Forestry.

Concern was raised by local and international NGOs working in the area over multiple examples of inaccurate statements in the description of the proposed routes and the reality on the ground – in particular bogus claims that routes passable by motorbike already exist in areas that are still natural forest. The lack of objective analysis regarding the need for evacuation routes or assessment of alternatives was also raised.

The meeting concluded with an announcement from the Department of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation of the Department of Forestry that an ‘Independent Team’ would be established to analyse the costs and benefits of the road proposals and to check conditions in the field.

The AKAR Network of local environmental NGOs and members of Forum HarimauKita, including Fauna & Flora International, urge that priority is given to dramatically improving the quality of the three existing road routes out of Kerinci District, and maintaining those roads in good condition.

The coalition of NGOs argues that with a focus on road quality rather than quantity, the financial outlay will be considerably lower, negative ecological and social impacts associated with opening new roads will be avoided, and travel times reduced. The aforementioned coalition will be closely monitoring the development of terms of reference and analysis of this proposal that is produced by the independent assessment team.

Fauna & Flora International are supportive of any effort to promote genuinely independent analysis of both these proposals and potential for alternatives that are less damaging both socially and environmentally. We remain deeply concerned regarding the devastating impact on Kerinci Seblat National Park should the proposed roads be approved, and the wider of precedent for other national parks throughout Indonesia.

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