Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra
The 2.5 million hectare Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra site comprises three national parks: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. The site holds the greatest potential for long-term conservation of the distinctive and diverse biota of Sumatra, including many endangered species. The protected area is home to an estimated 10,000 plant species, including 17 endemic genera; more than 200 mammal species; and some 580 bird species of which 465 are resident and 21 are endemic. Of the mammal species, 22 are Asian, not found elsewhere in the archipelago and 15 are confined to the Indonesian region, including the endemic Sumatran orang-utan. The site also provides biogeographic evidence of the evolution of the island.
2017 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
Exceptional scenic landscapes at all scales
Outstanding examples of forest on the island of Sumatra for the conservation of the biodiversity of both lowland and mountain forest ecological processes.
Important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity of plant and animal species
A critical habitat refuge for several globally significant and endangered species
One proposed location of the geothermal development is on the Kappi Plateau within GLNP, an area identified by IUCN and the World Heritage Centre, as well as conservation NGOs, as an area containing critical habitat for all four key species of the property (UNESCO 2017A, p. 25). In early 2017, conservationists warned that the outgoing governor of Aceh province and a Turkish company were lobbying for reduced protections in the core of the GLNP component of the property in order to enable geothermal development to proceed (HAkA et al, 2017). The State Party has said that it is ‘committed to not granting any concession or permits with regard to exploration of geothermal energy … within the property’ (Government of Indonesia, 2017, p.2). The State Party does not yet appear to have complied with the Committee’s request that geothermal development within the property be prohibited by law (38 COM 7A.28). Indeed, it reports that it has ‘issued a regulation in favour of geothermal operations in conservation areas through Law No. 21 of 2014 on Geothermal’, in which geothermal development is no longer classified as mining and can occur within conservation reserves (Indonesia, 2016, p.3). This ambiguity leaves geothermal development as a significant threat to the property.
Another proposed geothermal development adjacent to BBSNP has been discussed, and IUCN and the Committee have called for an EIA that addresses potential impacts on the OUV of the property to be submitted for review (World Heritage Committee 2015, 2016). In response, the State Party has asserted that ‘the preliminary study to explore the possibility of Geothermal Energy will not be conducted within the property’ (Indonesia, 2017, p.4). This assertion sidesteps the Committee’s request, which pertained to a development adjacent to the property. An online report appears to indicate that the proposal adjacent to BBSNP is proceeding, with major work being done on a biodiversity action plan, with maps showing the project’s proximity to tiger habitat and the TRHS (PTT Greencap, 2017). Given the apparent absence of the EIA sought by the Committee as well as the proximity of this project to the property, there appears to be a potential threat to the property’s integrity from this project. Furthermore, planning is reported to be well advanced for geothermal development immediately adjoining KSNP in Solok Selatan, West Sumatra Province. Exploration for geothermal is also reported to have been conducted in the Merangin and Kerinci areas of KSNP, and a goethermal contractor is said to have requested permission to conduct test drilling in a site bordering KSNP in the Jangkat area. There are concerns that this planning may be a factor in pressure for road construction through the KSNP to Renah Kemumu village (IUCN Consultation, 2017).
The 2014 Outlook reported that confusion regarding boundaries had created conflict with local people and district governments over rights to land and resources. The State Party says it is making a major effort to maintain and restore national-park boundary markers and undertaking an information dissemination program (Government of Indonesia, 2017, pp.18-19). No figures were given regarding lengths of the boundary clarified in this fashion. The information dissemination was described in very general and brief terms. The large-scale encroachment, illegal logging and poaching reported indicate that much work remains to be done. HAkA et al (2017, p. 11) say that this physical exercise in boundary demarcation is ‘an exercise in futility’ because of persisting confusion at the government and UNESCO level about the actual official boundaries (see below in ‘boundaries).
The 2014 Outlook reported that local politicians believe enhanced road access is necessary. This still appears to be the case (HAkA et al, 2017A, 2017B). A more assertive approach from the central government to saveguard the property's OUV appears necessary.
- A legislative prohibition on geothermal development within protected areas has been removed (Indonesia, 2016, p.3).
- It has been reported that the Spatial Land Use Plan developed by the Aceh provincial government would allow mining, palm-oil development and major infrastructure within previously protected areas of the Leuser Ecosystem, including the GLNP (HAkA et al, 2017A, pp.6-7/12). The Committee and IUCN have expressed concern about this and asked the State Party for assurances regarding protection of the GLNP and parts of the Leuser Ecosystem important for the property’s integrity (World Heritage Committee, 2015 and 2017; IUCN, 2013, p.22). The State Party has asserted that the property’s protection is unaffected by the Aceh Spatial Land Use Plan (Indonesia 2016, p.5) but it is not clear that this firm commitment by the central government translates into strong protective action on the ground, or effective communication with regional authorities that may have a different view.
Formal and enforceable legislative protection of the World Heritage property, based on the State Party’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention, would be a desirable step to help overcome current problems and ambiguities within the legal framework.
The serious concern amongst environmental NGOs and the Committee regarding the Aceh Land Use Spatial Plan, the apparent ambiguity about which legal regime prevails, and the resultant litigation (HAkA et al, 2017A, pp.6-7/12; World Heritage Committee, 2015, 2017) indicate that a regime protecting the World Heritage TRHS has not been effectively integrated into regional and local planning systems.
The establishment of National Strategic Areas (NSA) for all three components of the site is considered to be a positive step towards establishing effective buffer zones to regulate development and ensure that it is sustainable (IUCN mission report, 2013), however, the effectiveness of this approach has yet to be demonstrated, and the full establishment of the entire serial site as a NSA is yet to be completed (IUCN Consultation, 2017).
Collaboration between managers and NGOs on patrols and community liaison are frequent and welcome, but there appear to be no structured, transparent means for stakeholders to have input into the broader management of the property. There does not appear to be an accepted, transparent and accountable framework of governance for the TRHS as a whole.
It is not clear whether the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has an overarching management system for the property as a whole. The need for an overall Management Plan was identified at the time of nomination (Government of Indonesia, 2003, p.54); the State Party identified the need for a coherent approach between the three national parks that comprise the property (p.54); various programs were identified but no common structured plan (p.58); management plans existed for each of the three national parks but there was a need ‘to coordinate the management of the three parks’ (p.71). In 2007, the Committee urged the State Party to ‘establish an effective coordination mechanism between the three management units of the property so that it functions as one integrated World Heritage property, and for effective cooperation amongst different organisations and agencies involved in the property’ (31 COM 7B.16). There is no evidence that this has occurred.
In 2009, the Committee requested that the State Party submit a proposal to amend the property’s boundaries to incorporate more habitat of key species and to exclude areas that no longer contributed to OUV (33 COM 7B.15). That has not occurred.
|№||Organization/ individuals||Project duration||Brief description of Active Projects|
|1||Flora & Fauna International (SE Asia)||Programs for conservation of Sumatran tigers, orangutans and elephants; global trees campaign; marine conservation; human-wildlife conflict; law-enforcement partnerships; community action in Kerinci.|
|2||WCS||Worked on TRHS issues for many years and continue to do so.|
|3||Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme||Rescue, confiscation, quarantine and re-release of orangutans; habitat conservation; research and monitoring.|
|4||Jambi Community Forest Management Project (FFI and Lembaga Tiga Beradik)||Establishing community managed forest in KSNP buffer zones in 2 park edge districts in Jambi|
|5||PanEco Foundation||PanEco leads the multi-stakeholder Initiative: Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and about 35% of the world’s remaining Sumatran orangutans are within this site.|
|6||Lembaga Tumbuh Alami / AKAR Network||A network of NGOs working around on community empowerment around KSNP. LTA and the KSNP park management authority have a program of collaboration during 2012-2015|
|7||Yayasan Orangutan Sumatera Lestari - Orangutan Information Centre (YOSL-OIC)||Education; community liaison; tree planting; liaison with government; human-wildlife conflict.|
|8||Yayasan Leuser International (YLI)||Monitoring of the population of Sumatran Rhino and their habitat in GLNP, ecosystem restoration, awareness raising, Rhino Protection Units (RPUs)|
|9||Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari||Environmental outreach and education and community development.|
|10||YABI (Yayasan Badak Indonesia)||Rhino conservation in BBSNP, Rhino Protection Units (RPUs)|
|1||Bukit Lawang.Com (2017). Information website on Bukit Lawang. http://www.bukitlawang.com/ Accessed 8 September 2017|
|2||Government of Indonesia (2003). The Government of the Republic of Indonesia, Submission for Nomination of Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra to be included in the World Heritage List. PHKA. January 2003 http://whc.unesco.org/uploads/nominations/1167.pdf Accessed 11 September 2017|
Government of Indonesia (2015). The Government of the Republic of Indonesia, State of Conservation Status of the World Heritage in Indonesia, World Heritage Property, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (N1167), January 2015.
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/ Accessed 4 September 2017
|4||Government of Indonesia (2016). The Government of the Republic of Indonesia, State of Conservation Status of the World Heritage in Indonesia, World Heritage Property, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (N1167), January 2016. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/ Accessed 4 September 2017|
|5||Government of Indonesia (2017). The Government of the Republic of Indonesia, State of Conservation Status of the World Heritage in Indonesia, World Heritage Property, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (N1167), January 2017. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/ Accessed 1 September 2017|
|6||Griffiths, M (1989). Indonesian Eden, Mobil.|
HAkA, YEL, Orangutan Information Centre, Sumatran Orangutan Society (2017B). Sumatran UNESCO World Heritage Site Facing New Wave of Destruction.
https://www.orangutan.org.au/static/media/uploads/pdf/[pres… Accessed 4-13 September 2017
HakA, YEL, Orangutan Information Centre, Sumatran Orangutan Society (2017A). NGO Consortium Critique of “State of Conservation Status of the World Heritage in Indonesia World Heritage Property: Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (N 1167) January 2017”
http://www.haka.or.id/?page_id=2451 Accessed 2 September 2017
|9||IUCN (2004). World Heritage Nomination - IUCN Technical Evaluation. Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, ID No. 1167. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/ Accessed 31 August 2017.|
|10||IUCN (2013). REPORT ON THE MISSION TO JAKARTA, INDONESIA FROM 24 TO 30 OCTOBER, 2013 REGARDING THE TROPICAL RAINFOREST HERITAGE OF SUMATRA. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/documents/ Accessed 1 September 2017|
|11||Lonely Planet (2009). Indonesia.|
|12||Miscellaneous (2017). http://open_jicareport.jica.go.jp/pdf/12037628_01.pdf Accessed 5 September 2017. https://repit.wordpress.com/projects/hydro-potential-projec… Accessed 5 September 2017|
|13||Orangutan Centre (2017). Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra - World Heritage Still in Danger. http://orangutancentre.org/wp-content/uploads/TRHS_WH_Still… . Accessed 5-13 September 2017.|
|14||PT Greencap NAA Indonesia (2017). Draft Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and Critical Habitat Assessment (CHA). INO: Rantau Dedap Geothermal Power Project (Phase 2). March 2017. https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/project-documents/5… Accessed 5 September 2017|
|15||Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (2017). Ketambe. http://sumatranorangutan.org/research/ketambe Accessed 8 September 2017|
Teropong (2016). Konsorsium Indonesia-Cina Akan Bangun PLTA di Aceh Selatan.
http://www.teropongsenayan.com/40765-%C2%AD%E2%80%90konsors… Accessed 6 September 2017
|17||UNESCO (2005). 7B. State of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2005/whc05-29com-07BReve.pdf Accessed 11 September 2017|
|18||UNESCO (2013). WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add. State of conservation of the properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 017.http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2013/whc13-37com-7A-Add-en.pdf Accessed 4 September 2017|
|19||UNESCO (2017A). WHC-17/41.COM/7A.Add. State of conservation of the properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2017/whc17-41com-7AAdd-en.pdf Accessed 5 September 2017|
|20||UNESCO (2017B). 41st World Heritage Committee 4 July 2017 PM. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wX6Hbg0LHE&index=5&list=PL…|
|21||UNESCO (2017C). Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra / Maps. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167/multiple=1&unique_number… Accessed 6 September 2017|
|22||WWF (2017). Sumatran Islands Lowland and Montane Forests. http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/ecoregions/sumatran_lo… Accessed 5 September 2017|
|23||Wich et al. (eds.) 2011. Orangutans and the Economics of Sustainable Forest Management in Sumatra. UNEP/GRASP/ PanEco/YEL/ICRAF/GRID-Arendal. https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/8027/… Accessed 5 September 2017.|
|24||World Heritage Committee (2005). Decision 29 COM 7B.9. http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/364 Accessed 11 September 2017|
|25||World Heritage Committee (2007). Decision 31 COM 7B.16 . http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1397 Accessed 11 September 2017|
|26||World Heritage Committee (2009). Decision 33 COM 7B.15. http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1807 Accessed 11 September 2017|
|27||World Heritage Committee (2010). Decision : 34 COM 7B.14 http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4122 Accessed 11 September 2017|
|28||World Heritage Committee (2011). Decision : 35 COM 7B.16 http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4424 Accessed 11 September 2017|
|29||World Heritage Committee (2013). Decision 37 COM 7A.14. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4993 Accessed 2 September 2017.|
|30||World Heritage Committee (2013B). Statement of Outstanding Universal Value. http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2013/whc13-37com-8E-en.pdf Accessed 1 September 2017.|
|31||World Heritage Committee (2014). Decision 38 COM 7A.28. Doha, Qatar. http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/5970 Accessed 4 September 2017.|
|32||World Heritage Committee (2015). Decision 39 COM 7A.15 . http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6234 Accessed 5 September 2017.|
|33||World Heritage Committee (2016). Decision 40 COM 7A.48 http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6663 Accessed 5 September 2017|
|34||World Heritage Committee (2017). Decision 41 COM 7A.18. http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6964 Accessed 3-8 September 2017|