Developing a park co-management team
OFI, in conjunction with World Education, began work on its second USAID grant in October 2003. One of OFI and World Education’s goals is to further develop an effective co-management team for Tanjung Puting National Park (TPNP). One primary aim of the co-management team is to expand the size of the area inside TPNP regularly patrolled and protected. The most prudent, efficient, and sustainable way of achieving this goal is to move outside the area currently protected, the Sekonyer River basin, where the majority of the current guard posts are located, and add guard posts to new park areas.
Establishing a network of guard posts
By establishing a larger network of linked and permanently occupied guard posts, we will increase our effective territorial control and gain assured protection of whole river systems. The prime function of these posts will be to deny illegal loggers, illegal miners, and poachers access to the park by blocking river access to individuals without park permits. Staff at each post will also conduct patrols of the area twice a week to look for illegal activities in the areas surrounding the post. During the duration of the grant, eight guard posts will be constructed.
Locating guard post sites
The first step of this initiative was to verify locations for the guard posts with an objective of increasing the amount of the park protected to more than 40%. To identify priority areas for protection, OFI and TPNP management conducted an appraisal of the whole park, assessing the biological importance of certain areas, the presence of a major river system, and the level of threat. Eight areas were identified. From north to south these were:
- Pembuang Hulu
- Sungai Lulut
- Pulau Ulin
- Simpang Danau
- Tanjung Hanau
- Sungai Baung
- Sungai Buluh Besar
- Sungai Sigintung
We will continue to work with the co-management team to update the priority list for guard post placement throughout the life of the project, using information gathered from the Geographic Information System (GIS) currently being developed. The posts that will be built in the first year include Sungai Lulut, Sungai Baung, Tanjung Hanau, and Pembuang Hulu.
Constructing the first post
OFI Staff worked with the Sungai Lulut Village Chief and community members in the village to choose a site along the Sungai Lulut for the first post. The Sungai Lulut is a small river, entering the west side of the park from Kumai Bay. Currently, approximately 50 families are farming around the mouth of the river. The majority of these farmers are from the village of Teluk Pulai, which is inside the park. The local government approves of farming at this site, even though it is inside the park. A conservation presence is considered necessary to establish the limits of “allowable” farming and to prevent the expansion of farms into forested areas. In the past, illegal loggers and gembor collectors from Kubu have used the Sungai Lulut to enter the park. As the size of the settlement increases so will the pressure on the forest. It is inevitable that, if unchecked, illegal logging will become more widespread.
With the presence of this new post which was completed in January 2004, we believe that we will be able to keep out illegal activities in the area and we will work with the local community to prevent further agricultural encroachment into the park. The post also provides the park’s management staff with a permanent physical presence.