The Nature Conservancy Indonesia Program

Balikpapan, Indonesia

The Nature Conservancy Indonesia Program

Balikpapan, Indonesia
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Meijaard E.,People and Nature Consulting International | Meijaard E.,Australian National University | Mengersen K.,Queensland University of Technology | Buchori D.,The Nature Conservancy Indonesia Program | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Species conservation is difficult. Threats to species are typically high and immediate. Effective solutions for counteracting these threats, however, require synthesis of high quality evidence, appropriately targeted activities, typically costly implementation, and rapid re-evaluation and adaptation. Conservation management can be ineffective if there is insufficient understanding of the complex ecological, political, socio-cultural, and economic factors that underlie conservation threats. When information about these factors is incomplete, conservation managers may be unaware of the most urgent threats or unable to envision all consequences of potential management strategies. Conservation research aims to address the gap between what is known and what knowledge is needed for effective conservation. Such research, however, generally addresses a subset of the factors that underlie conservation threats, producing a limited, simplistic, and often biased view of complex, real world situations. A combination of approaches is required to provide the complete picture necessary to engage in effective conservation. Orangutan conservation (Pongo spp.) offers an example: standard conservation assessments employ survey methods that focus on ecological variables, but do not usually address the socio-cultural factors that underlie threats. Here, we evaluate a complementary survey method based on interviews of nearly 7,000 people in 687 villages in Kalimantan, Indonesia. We address areas of potential methodological weakness in such surveys, including sampling and questionnaire design, respondent biases, statistical analyses, and sensitivity of resultant inferences. We show that interview-based surveys can provide cost-effective and statistically robust methods to better understand poorly known populations of species that are relatively easily identified by local people. Such surveys provide reasonably reliable estimates of relative presence and relative encounter rates of such species, as well as quantifying the main factors that threaten them. We recommend more extensive use of carefully designed and implemented interview surveys, in conjunction with more traditional field methods. © 2011 Meijaard et al.

Fuller D.O.,University of Miami | Meijaard E.M.,People and Nature Consulting International | Christy L.,The Nature Conservancy Indonesia Program | Jessup T.C.,49 Gamefield Road
Applied Geography | Year: 2010

We present a spatially explicit, multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) that uses twelve input layers derived from Landsat-7 and other data derived from remotely sensed observations to create composite maps that integrate information on infrastructure, biology, and physical factors related to known threats to biodiversity in the province of East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Composite maps were evaluated statistically using a set of land-use maps related to conservation threats. The composite layer that weighed physical factors most heavily provided a result that was easily distinguishable from other MCE composite maps and yielded a number of statistically significant differences between land-use categories. Specifically, areas designated for forest conversion were more highly threatened than areas not designated for conversion and upland forest areas were less threatened than lowland areas when physical factors were weighed more heavily. However, we reject the hypothesis that established protected areas were generally less threatened than areas that do not benefit from formal protection, which is consistent with assertions concerning the state of East Kalimantan's protected areas. By demonstrating the validity of inexpensive, publicly available spatial data and simple, integrative decision support tools, our methods may be replicated broadly in other regions where forest conversion threatens remaining biodiversity. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

Meijaard E.,People and Nature Consulting International | Meijaard E.,Australian National University | Albar G.,Societe dOrnithologie de Polyne sie | Nardiyono,The Nature Conservancy Indonesia Program | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Ecological studies of orangutans have almost exclusively focused on populations living in primary or selectively logged rainforest. The response of orangutans to severe habitat degradation remains therefore poorly understood. Most experts assume that viable populations cannot survive outside undisturbed or slightly disturbed forests. This is a concern because nearly 75% of all orangutans live outside protected areas, where degradation of natural forests is likely to occur, or where these are replaced by planted forests. To improve our understanding of orangutan survival in highly altered forest habitats, we conducted population density surveys in two pulp and paper plantation concessions in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. These plantations consist of areas planted with fast-growing exotics intermixed with stands of highly degraded forests and scrublands. Our rapid surveys indicate unexpectedly high orangutan densities in plantation landscapes dominated by Acacia spp., although it remains unclear whether such landscapes can maintain long-term viable populations. These findings indicate the need to better understand how plantation-dominated landscapes can potentially be incorporated into orangutan conservation planning. Although we emphasize that plantations have less value for overall biodiversity conservation than natural forests, they could potentially boost the chances of orangutan survival. Our findings are based on a relatively short study and various methodological issues need to be addressed, but they suggest that orangutans may be more ecologically flexible than previously thought. © 2010 Meijaard et al.

Drummond S.P.,University of Queensland | Drummond S.P.,Water and Air Consultants Pty Ltd | Wilson K.A.,University of Queensland | Meijaard E.,The Nature Conservancy Indonesia Program | And 4 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2010

Conservation efforts at local, regional, and global scales often focus on threatened species despite recent calls to adopt more equitable and potentially more economically rational approaches. Critics contend that conservation planning centered only on threatened species fails to deliver cost-efficient conservation outcomes. We explored how planning to preserve threatened mammal species would influence the efficiency and effectiveness of conservation investments in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. We found that the explicit protection of threatened species delivered cost-efficient outcomes in this situation, afforded adequate protection to over 90% of those species not yet considered endangered, and contributed to the partial protection of the remainder. We used Marxan, a conservation planning tool, to determine the frequency that planning units are selected in efficient reserve systems and assessed the relative risk of deforestation of each planning unit. Our methods allowed us to identify areas of the region that require the most urgent conservation action. © 2009 Society for Conservation Biology.

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