Protecting and restoring forests for future needs
With an area of about 100,000 hectares, Hutan Harapan - Indonesian for "Forest of Hope" - comprises Sumatra's last large lowland rainforest on mineral soil. It is one of the last refuges for numerous endangered species, such as Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants and rhinoceros hornbills. In addition, the forest’s countless ecosystem functions secure the livelihood of the indigenous Batin Sembilan and other local population groups.
However, Hutan Harapan is facing enormous pressure from surrounding land use. Deforestation for infrastructure projects, plantations and arable land threaten the precious forest. Additionally, illegally set forest fires and prolonged dry seasons fuelled by the global climate crisis aggravate the situation. It is therefore crucial to ensure the long-term preservation and restoration of the forest and its ecosystem functions.
Together with the local population and its partners, Burung Indonesia, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), BirdLife International and KfW Entwicklungsbank, NABU has been working since 2007 to protect and restore this valuable lowland rainforest. In this way, the project makes an important contribution to the current UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. The project is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV).
Many rare and endangered species live in Hutan Harapan, including the beautiful rhinoceros hornbills. - photo: feathercollector/ stock.adobe.com
The Kapas River in Hutan Harapan. - photo: Saparudin
To protect the rainforest from fires and illegal logging, the area is regularly patrolled. - photo: Ardi Wijaya
Ranger in Hutan Harapan - photo: NABU/ Annika Natus
In 2019, Hutan Harapan's 40-member forest protection unit fought illegally set fires. - photo: Ardi Wijaya
The forests of Hutan Harapan are treasures of biodiversity. - photo: Annika Natus
Rare snapshot: A highly endangered Malayan Tapir is photographed by one of our camera traps in Hutan Harapan. - photo: PT REKI
The main focus of our work
Hutan Harapan is located in the global biodiversity hotspot Sundaland, which is characterised by a particularly high, but unfortunately also highly threatened biodiversity. More than 1100 animal and plant species have already been systematically recorded here, including over 300 bird species and more than 60 mammal, 70 reptile and 60 amphibian species. Monitoring of the flora and fauna aims to further explore the biodiversity of the region and to systematically track selected species in order to measure and improve the effectiveness of conservation measures.
Cooperation with local communities
Close cooperation with local population groups, such as the indigenous Batin Sembilan, is indispensable for the long-term protection of the rainforest and aims, among other goals, at empowerment and the development of sustainable sources of income. Furthermore, access to education and health facilities, which is financed by the project, also plays an important role.
Preserving an important carbon sink
In the fight against the global climate crisis, the protection of intact rainforests like Hutan Harapan is indispensable. Through regular patrols in close cooperation with local authorities, illegal logging and land grabbing are counteracted. In addition, degraded areas are protected to allow for natural regeneration. If necessary, this process is supported by targeted planting of native seedlings.
The project components in detail
To protect the lowland rainforest, regular patrols and fire prevention and suppression measures are carried out.
To restore degraded forest areas, the project relies on both the natural regeneration of the forest ecosystem and the targeted planting of seedlings in specific areas.
Environmental education and communication
The project promotes awareness about the important role of the ecosystem transcending Hutan Harapan's borders and gives a voice to local communities, such as the Batin Sembilan.
Research and development
Research, including on biodiversity, different reforestation methods and the cultivation of crops in agroforestry systems, provides important insights for science, nature conservation and the sustainable development of the region.
Close cooperation with local communities and adjacent concession holders promotes and strengthens joint protection of the forest within and beyond the project boundaries.
For the long-term staying power of the project, possibilities for sustainable financing are being developed and tested, for example through the sustainable and forest-friendly cultivation of products such as vanilla.
The project promotes the improvement of the livelihoods of local communities, such as the indigenous Batin Sembilan, through the creation of jobs and the provision of infrastructure, including a primary school and a clinic, among other things.
Hutan Harapan - Restoring the forests for future needs
June 2019 to June 2026
German Development Bank (KfW), Burung Indonesia, BirdLife International, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Sponsored by / Supported by
The project is supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV).
Hope alone will not preserve the rainforest in Indonesia. The project was launched in 2019 and has the chance to make an important contribution to climate change mitigation, the livelihoods of the indigenous population and biodiversity in the Forest of Hope. Visit the project website for more details.Project website