Proposed Resolution to be adopted at the 6th General Assembly of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil 4th November 2009
A moratorium on land clearance in the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem
Submitted by: Sumatran Orangutan Society
The Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem is one of the most important conservation areas in Sumatra. The Bukit Tigapuluh National Park (BTNP) is located within this ecosystem and is surrounded by a buffer zone of forests containing many high conservation values. The BTNP contains over 1,500 species of flora, 59 species of mammals, 193 species of birds, and 97 species of fish. The great majority of these species are found throughout the wider ecosystem area, and indeed many are found in greater densities outside the boundary of the national park than within the protected area.
The Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem is also the site of the only successful Sumatran orangutan reintroduction programme and constitutes the largest orangutan habitat outside the Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra. Over 100 orangutans have been reintroduced to the Bukit Tigapuluh forests, and the great majority of these individuals use the forest outside the national park as their core habitat area, as shown in Figure 1. The forests of the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem could support a population of over 500 orangutans, and could therefore provide a refuge for a viable population of this critically endangered species.
The Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem is also an important habitat for other critically endangered species, including the Sumatran elephant and the Sumatran tiger. Three indigenous tribes are known to live in the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park and surrounding area: the Talang Mamak, Melayu Tua and Kubu/Orang Rimba, who all rely on the forest area for their livelihoods and traditional way of life.
The forest landscape includes approximately 450,000 ha of healthy and contiguous natural forest, only 29% of which is protected within the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park. Over 300,000 ha of land beyond the national park boundary is classified as ex-HPH concessions, around 180,000 ha of which is still forested. These areas contain high biodiversity values, confirmed during extensive surveys by multiple stakeholders.
In view of the significance and the high conservation value of this area, it is necessary to ensure the integrity of the entire ecosystem in order to support viable populations of key species. The maintenance of High Conservation Values is a cornerstone of the RSPO standard for sustainability. We therefore call on the 6th General Assembly of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, on 4th November 2009, to resolve that:
1) The forest landscape identified in Figure 1 be officially recognised as the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem, and therefore as an area containing high conservation values.
2) 2) Any RSPO member involved in land to be contravening the principle of maintaining high conservation values. Evidence that any clearance in the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem will be found member is involved in such activities will result in that member being expelled from the RSPO.
Contact for further information and detailed maps: Helen Buckland, UK Director, Sumatran Orangutan Society: Helen@orangutans-sos.org
Figure 1. Wildlife Distribution in the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park and Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem, and locations of new proposed concessions
Head of Division
Social and Environmental Risk Mitigation Initiatives
Sawit Watch, Association
Jl. Sempur Kaler No. 28